Gladys Knight has been honored with the National Medal of Arts from President Joe Biden. Knight, also known as “The Empress of Soul,” received the medal Tuesday evening at the White House.

More Details About The National Medal Of Arts

Knight was among 22 others who were honored with the medal at Tuesday’s event. This was also the first time President Biden has held the award ceremony since taking office, as reported by CNN.

In addition to Knight, President Biden also presented the distinguishment to singer Bruce Springsteen. As well as actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mindy Kaling, and fashion designer Vera Wang.

As reported by the outlet, the National Medal of the Arts commemorates “artists, art patrons, and groups that have advanced arts in the United States.” Additionally, it is the “highest American award given to artists, art patrons, and groups that have advanced arts in the United States.”

Gladys Knight Accepts The National Medal of Arts

The ceremony took place in the East Room at the White House. Biden introduced the honors with a brief statement, as per CNN.

“We’re a nation, a great nation, in large part because of the power of the arts and humanities. That’s stamped into the DNA of America. Today… (we) continue the legacy of awarding two of our nation’s highest honors to 23 extraordinary Americans.”

When Knight’s name was called, the whole room erupted in cheer and applause. The 78-year-old then stepped up to the stage and a speaker further saluted the singer with a list of accolades.

“For her iconic voice as the ‘Empress of Soul,’ Gladys Knight’s exceptional talent influenced musical genres from Rhythm and blues, to Gospel, to Pop. And inspired generations of artists captivated by her soundtrack of a golden age in American music.”

President Biden placed the medal, adorned with a purple ribbon, around the 78-year-old’s neck and embraced her with a hug. The two then posed for a brief picture.

Social Media Reacts To Gladys Knight’s Honor

According to, Gladys Knight began performing with her siblings. The group initially called themselves “The Pips,” then transitioned to the name “Gladys Knight and the Pips.” The group rose to fame with their number one single, the 1973 track, “Midnight Train To Georgia.”

Going solo in 1989, Knight continued to stand out with hits like “Licence To Kill,” featured on the ‘James Bond’ soundtrack. She released her first solo studio album in 1990, called A Good Woman. Additionally, the project featured fellow greats, Dionne Warwick and Dating-78-too-good-to-be-solo/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Patti Labelle.

Another major milestone was accomplished for the singer when she, and The Pips, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. According to the museum’s official website, the group “set the standard for longevity and honest-to-God R&B.”

“Gladys Knight has been with the Pips for over forty years, but from the start she sang with the wisdom of a woman who has seen it all. From doo-wop to Motown to Seventies soul ballads, the quality of their work is unimpeachable…

Knight is one of the few Hall of Famers who have continued to make hits from the ‘60s until the present day. 

The key to this success is Gladys Knight’s voice, one of the more remarkable instruments of the rock, soul, and R&B eras.”

Congratulations to Gladys Knight for her remarkable career and for continuing to receive her flowers!

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