Kennedy Center to review awards process after accusations of bias

Posted on: January 9, 2013

In Wednesday’s (1/9) New York Times, Patricia Cohen writes, “After fielding complaints of bias from a Hispanic Arts group, the Kennedy Center announced that it is re-evaluating the way it selects the winners of its annual arts awards, The Associated Press reported. A new 11-member advisory panel that includes the cellist Yo-Yo Ma; the actors Debbie Allen and Raúl Esparza; the president of the Juilliard School, Joseph Polisi; representatives from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture will help the Kennedy Center’s board review the awards process. Of the 180 artists that the Kennedy Center Honors have recognized in its 35-year existence, two have been Latino: the opera star Plácido Domingo and the actress Chita Rivera. The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts criticized this record in September. The foundation’s chairman, Felix Sanchez, said the Kennedy Center Honors were scrutinized because the center receives federal funding and the awards take place in the nation’s capital. … The Kennedy Center’s president, Michael Kaiser, defended the center’s overall record on diversity, while adding that ‘it is important to undertake this review process to ensure the Honors reflect the diversity of those who have contributed to American culture.’ ”

Posted January 9, 2013