Following a highly public spat last year with advocacy groups for Latino Americans, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., announced Thursday that its annual honors recognizing artists in various fields will feature two Latino names.
Musician Carlos Santana and opera singer Martina Arroyo are among the five talents recognized in the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors. The other honorees are Shirley MacLaine, Billy Joel and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
The annual ceremony is scheduled to take place Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center and will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 29.
In 2012, the Kennedy Center was criticized by two Latino advocacy groups for the lack of Latinos in the awards’ 35-year history. Prior to Thursday’s announcement, the only Latino artists to be recognized were Plácido Domingo in 2000 and Chita Rivera in 2002.
The exchanges got ugly last year when Michael Kaiser, president of the Kennedy Center, reportedly used obscene language in a telephone conversation with the head of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. Kaiser later apologized.
As a result of the criticism, the Kennedy Center changed its honors process to be more inclusive.
Last year’s honorees included Buddy Guy, Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Natalia Makarova and Led Zeppelin.