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Garth Brooks, Toby Keith Receive National Arts Recognitions

Garth Brooks and Toby Keith

Two of Oklahoma’s country music stars were honored this week.

Garth Brooks is one of five people in the 2021 class of Kennedy Center Honorees, which celebrates artists who have left an indelible mark on American culture.

In a statement, the country star from Yukon called President John F. Kennedy a childhood hero and said he hopes “to have contributed to humanity like my heroes have.”

He becomes just the third Oklahoman to be receive the honors, following country music star Reba McEntire in 2018 and prima ballerina Maria Tallchief in 1996.

Meanwhile, Toby Keith was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Donald Trump.

Peter Alexander with NBC News reports the closed ceremony for the highest award the U.S. government gives to artists and arts patrons took place just minutes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Trump for the second time.

The country music star performed at a pre-inaugural concert for Trump in 2017.

He joins fellow Oklahomans Maria Tallchief who was honored in 1999 and Ralph Ellison who received the award in 1985.


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Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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