Legendary singer-songwriter and SOCAN member Joni Mitchell accepted a Kennedy Center Honor, one of the most prestigious lifetime-achievement awards in American culture, at a ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.
The iconic Mitchell – who’s faced health issues in the wake of an aneurysm in 2015 that left her temporarily unable to walk or talk – has come a long way back within a few short years, attending the gala in person, walking onto the stage to accept, and addressing her challenges with her usual humour, grace, and strength.
“I always think that polio was a rehearsal for the rest of my life,” she said as she accepted her award, referring to the disease she suffered aged nine. “I’ve had to come back several times from things. And this last one was a real whopper. But you know, I’m hobbling along, but I’m doing all right!” She also described the award as “a fantastic honour… enjoy yourselves, I’m gonna go back and sit down!”
Other honourees at the 44th annual edition of the event were singer-songwriter Bette Midler, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels (who’s originally from Canada), Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and opera singer Justino Díaz. The show will be broadcast on CBS on Wednesday, Dec. 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET.