Bit of BG: The Kennedy Center Honors are a big deal in America, one of the most prestigious awards that a person in the arts can receive. Those honored receive a rainbow colored ribbon draped around their neck by the president at a ceremony and dinner, proceeding a formal tribute gala. At the gala, the honorees are seated in the balcony of the Kennedy Center alongside the president where they watch their tributes. They are expected to wear the ribbons they received earlier in the evening over their formal attire.
The 2010 honorees (awarded tonight) are Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Merle Haggard, Jerry Herman and Bill T. Jones.
I was looking through the Washington Post's coverage of the event tonight and in the photos I came across one of Diana Ross, who is a past recipient of the award and was a guest at tonight's gala, wearing HER ribbon which she received when she was honored in 2007. (It's page 16 of the slideshow here
Does that strike anyone else as unbelievably tacky? Whether she has a technical right to wear it or not, I expect the only people to be wearing their ribbons to be that night's honorees. For someone who was awarded their ribbon years ago to wear hers when she is a guest seems like a faux pas and an attempt to take the some attention from the night's honorees and say, "See, I got one too!" Now Ross may be proud of her honor but she's not being honored tonight - she's a guest and an audience member. She already had her night as an honoree where she was the focus, got to wear her ribbon and sit next to the president. Tonight was devoted to this year's group of honorees and their moment to wear the ribbons they just received and to get tributes from fellow artists. I think it would be like Meryl Streep attending this year's Oscars and bringing one of her old Oscars with her and holding it while she sat and watched the show.