On Friday (May 21) Garth Brooks was among the 43rd class of Kennedy Center Honorees, alongside actor Dick Van Dyke, dancer/choreographer/actress Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter Joan Baez and violinist Midori.
The Kennedy Center Honors are awarded each year to those in various performing arts fields, for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.
Brooks has been involved in honoring previous Kennedy Center Honors winners in past years, including honoring James Taylor (2016), Billy Joel (2013), Loretta Lynn (2003) and helping to pay tribute to previous Mark Twain Prize recipient Jay Leno in 2014.
The Kennedy Center Honors are just the latest accolade in Brooks’ storied career. He is the first artist to win the CMA’s Entertainer of the year honor seven times. He has earned 14 Grammy nominations and two wins, for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (“In Another’s Eyes” with Trisha Yearwood in 1997) and Best Country Vocal Performance, Male (“Ropin’ The Wind,” 1991). Brooks was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2012 and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011.
He is also the first and only artist to earn nine Diamond Awards, for his nine albums honored by the RIAA for sales of over 10 million albums sales each. He is also the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history, having been certified by the RIAA with more than 157 million in album sales. In March of last year, Brooks earned the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
This year’s Kennedy Center Honors ceremony was delayed from December 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Held at the Kennedy Center’s opera house, the ceremony abbreviated to 90 minutes and included approximately 120 people. The evening of tributes, which normally runs about three hours, was also broken up into separate events over the weekend, with previous recipients including cellist Yo Yo Ma and singer Gloria Estefan among those honoring this year’s winners.
Footage from the events will later be consolidated into a CBS television special set to air June 6.
Brooks shared a pair of photos of himself with wife and fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood on Instagram after the event, captioning the photo with a reference to poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou.
“To loosely quote Maya Angelou I stand here as one but I stand here for the people who have carried me to this point. Grateful!” Brooks said.
Trisha Yearwood also shared a sweet snapshot to commemorate the evening, posting a photo of Brooks’ black cowboy hat with the signature Kennedy Center Honors ribbon draped over it.