Raul Esparza and Debbie Allen will be among the 11-member panel assigned to formally review the selection process for the Kennedy Center Honors after the prize came under fire for excluding Latinos, reports CBS News.
The 35-year-old awards ceremony, widely regarded as one of the country’s most prestigious prizes for individuals in the arts, is being criticized by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts for failing to honor enough Latino artists. Chairman Felix Sanchez suggested that the federally-funded prize honor potential Latino candidates like Carlos Santana, Rita Moreno and Gloria Estefan.
The Kennedy Center will launch a formal review with an artist advisory panel that includes Esparza, Allen, musician Yo-Yo Ma and Juilliard president Joseph Polisi, as well as representatives from the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Only two of the past 180 honorees have been of Hispanic descent—Spanish tenor Placido Domingo (who was honored in 2000) and Broadway legend Chita Rivera (in 2002).