Earth, Wind & Fire Make History As First Black Group Inducted Into Kennedy Center Honors

arth, Wind & Fire made history over the weekend as they became the first Black group inducted into Kennedy Center Honors. Talk about iconic!

Original members Verdine White, Philip Bailey, and Ralph Johnson were in attendance for the 42nd Annual Kennedy Center Honors, held inside Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, where they paid tribute to late member and founder Maurice White.

Johnson told Billboard, “You can’t play any Earth Wind & Fire songs without Maurice’s DNA being on it, so he’s always here and we’re always celebrating him and his vision.”

Iconic musical sensation, Earth, Wind & Fire (EWF) just made history by becoming the first Black musical group to be inducted into the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, Post Wire reports.

EWF was founded during the 1970s by the late, great, Maurice White. They were a near-instant sensation, blending funk with rhythmic jazz & R&B tones. Over the next 50 years, they would cement their legendary status. The group cranked out hit after hit and garnered numerous accolades including, six Grammys, four American Music Awards, a BET Lifetime Achievement Award, a Soul Train Legend Award, and a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction. With over 100 million records sold, they’re one of the most successful bands of all time.

Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter spoke about the distinguished honour saying, “In this class of honorees, we are witnessing a uniquely American story: one that is representative of so many cultural touchstones and musical moments that make our nation great. When I look at this class, I see the hopes, aspirations, and achievements not just of these honorees, but of the many generations they have influenced and continue to influence. We’re not just looking back; these honorees are urging us to look forward as well.”

All of the band’s surviving members were in attendance at the 42nd annual star-studded event, including Verdine White, Philip Bailey, and Ralph Johnson. The three accepted the award on behalf of White, who founded the group and passed away three years ago. John Legend, Ne-Yo, and Cynthia Erivo paid tribute to the icons. EWF also brought down the house with a performance of their classic hit “September.”

Johnson told Billboard, “You can’t play any Earth Wind & Fire songs without Maurice’s DNA being on it, so he’s always here and we’re always celebrating him and his vision.”

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