Queen Latifah received the highest honor of the Princess Grace Awards for her contribution to the arts on Monday night (24Oct16).
The Chicago actress was handed the Prince Rainier III Award, named after the husband of late actress and Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly, for giving back to the arts community. She was chosen for the honor by the executives of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, which awards grants and scholarships to emerging talents in theater, dance and film.
Upon accepting the award, Queen Latifah thanked her art teacher mother Mrs. Rita Owens, saying,
“I watched her develop their self-esteem, experience and their zest for life. Just the idea, that if they dream big they can go for it, was something they learned in her art class.”
Prince Albert II of Monaco, the son of Kelly and Prince Rainier III, said the foundation was privileged to give the award to the 46-year-old when it was announced earlier this month (Oct16).
“She has demonstrated a devotion to helping others throughout her illustrious career as an award-winning actress, musician, and producer,” he said in a statement. “Her deep commitment to AIDS and cancer research and to programs that help the hungry, youth, women and LGBTQ community have made a difference in the lives of so many.”
The actress, who receives a grant of $25,000 to be given to an organization of her choice, follows in the footsteps of Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Denzel Washington, Glenn Close, and George Lucas, among others.
Former Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. and choreographer Camille Brown were honored with the Princess Grace Statue Award for their work in the arts at the ceremony, which was hosted by supermodel Naomi Campbell at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York City.
Leslie previously revealed to People magazine he received a $25,000 grant from the Foundation in 2002 to help him pay for college tuition and said the program was “a huge help to my family and it changed my life.”
The Foundation was founded in 1982 by Prince Rainier III after the death of Grace Kelly earlier that year at the age of 52.