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AWARDS NEWS: Tony Bennett Receives 2004 Arts Legacy Award

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Tony Bennett received the 2004 Arts Legacy Award from Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors. The award honors an individual concerned with the advancement of the arts for future generations.

The award is part of a series of Public Leadership in the Arts Awards given annually by Americans for the Arts and The United States Conference of Mayors since 1997. In addition to Bennett, recipients of the other 2004 awards are: Henry Winkler for the Legendary Artist Award; Mayor Martin O'Malley of Baltimore for Local Arts Leadership and Governor Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania for State Arts Leadership. All four awards were presented at the Mayors Arts Luncheon held during the Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 22 at the Capital Hilton.

"This country has a long tradition of artists using their gifts to benefit their fellow citizens," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "Tony Bennett and Henry Winkler are superb examples of nationally prominent artists putting their visibility to good use by advancing the arts and other causes that help improve the human condition."

— Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Janet Jackson Awarded For Charity Work

BEVERLY HILLS, CA (AP) — In her first public appearance since her breast was exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show, Janet Jackson received an award for her humanitarian and charitable contributions.

Behind the Bench, an association of wives of NBA players, honored Jackson at their annual fund-raiser Friday at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"She has done a wonderful job giving back to communities across America. That fact has not changed," Behind the Bench spokesman Vince McCaskill said. "She was on board with this seven months ago. We never even considered her not being here."

Jackson had not appeared in public since singer Justin Timberlake tore off part of her costume, exposing her breast, during a performance in front of some 90 million television viewers. The stunt prompted a Federal Communications Commission investigation, and Jackson released a videotaped apology. Timberlake also apologized.

Behind the Bench, formed in 1995, has raised nearly $1 million for charities in Los Angeles, the host city of this year's NBA All-Star game.

Previous award recipients include Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Dorothy Height, Alonzo Mourning and David Robinson.

CBS Apologizes For Grammy Show

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — CBS offered an apology Friday to Native Americans angered over a Grammy Awards performance by OutKast that featured frenetic dancing, feathers and war paint — which some called racist and degrading.

"We are very sorry if anyone was offended," said Nancy Carr, CBS spokeswoman in Los Angeles.

As the final act of Sunday's Grammy telecast on the network, OutKast's Andre "3000" Benjamin and several members of a dance troupe swirled wildly around a green teepee as he sang his "Hey Ya!" Costumes included war paint, feathers and fringe.

"I like OutKast. I like their music," said Tom Bee, an Albuquerque record producer and musician who was nominated for this year's Native American Music Grammy. "But I thought the show was not correct. It was degrading."

The San Francisco-based Native American Cultural Center called for a boycott of CBS and OutKast, which won three Grammys at the show; Arista, their record company; the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that sponsors the Grammys; and CBS, the network that aired the show.

The center has also filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission and said it posted documents online explaining "why this broadcast was racist and why the companies involved need to take responsibility for their commercialization of Native American culture."

The Web site also urged viewers to "Turn Off CBS," and for each boycotter to ask 10 friends to do likewise.

George Toya of the Grammy-winning Jemez Pueblo powwow group Black Eagle said he was happy at first when he heard the American Indian chant that opened the performance in question. He thought he was about to see an American Indian group perform.

"It was a Navajo song that I recognized, and I got a little excited," said Toya, who along with the other members of the group were at the Los Angeles ceremony to pick up a Grammy for Best Native American Music Album.

But the drumming was actually the intro to a Benjamin's "Hey Ya!"

Toya, who was in the audience, said he couldn't believe it.

"I told my wife who was sitting beside me, 'Somebody is going to be (angry) about this,'" he said.

Indians across the country were angered by the performance, which they say was disrespectful to their culture and a perpetuation of tomahawk-and-teepee stereotypes.

The Oneida Nation criticized the performance on Tuesday. launched an online petition calling for an apology from Benjamin. By Wednesday night, there were 2,500 signatures on it.

"I don't think you meant to offend, but you hurt us," wrote a petition signer named Megan Jones. "Please acknowledge our feelings and apologize."

In New York, a woman who answered the telephone Friday at an Arista Records publicity office said OutKast had no comment "at this point." So Benjamin and Antoine "Big Boi" Patton, the other half of OutKast, remained silent.

Bee was particularly angered that the dancers who accompanied Benjamin wore feathers, a sacred symbol for Natives.

Al Green Inducted Into Gospel Hall Of Fame

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Al Green and Sandi Patty led a diverse quartet of industry veterans inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

"We always want to honor the spectrum of music that has the gospel in it," said Gospel Music Association President John Styll. "For us, it's not about the style, it's about the message, and it's a way of showing that the gospel can be packaged in any number of ways."

Also inducted were Vestal Goodman, who died in December of flu complications, and BMI President Frances W. Preston.

The ceremony was taped Wednesday for broadcast later in the year on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the first time the induction ceremony will be televised.

"By making it a television special, our goal was to raise the level of recognition and honor these folks get because they deserve it," Styll said.

In his speech, Green said he wasn't recognized by the Grammy Awards community until he made a gospel record. "I made records and records and records and didn't win a one. I come to Nashville, cut a gospel record, and they give me two," he said.

Patty, the all-time Dove Award leader among female artists with 39, said she appreciates the growth and diversity of gospel music.

"I'm a mom of many teenagers, and I'm thrilled there are groups out there like Third Day and MercyMe that my kids absolutely love, and they're not only getting great music, but they're getting good stuff for their heart, too," she said.