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With legendary singer Dionne Warwick present to witness a space revealed in her honor, hundreds gathered at Bowie State University (BSU) on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the Dionne Warwick Theater inside the institution’s Fine and Performing Arts Center.
Viewing her name beautifully lit in the space, Warwick was visibly pleased by the honor.
As tribute to the singer, the BSU Choir performed “I Say a Little Prayer” to begin the ceremony and gospel singer BeBe Winans performed “Amazing Grace.”
Video messages of support from celebrities such as Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen and Tom Selleck were also shown.
BSU President Aminta Breaux listed off numerous honors and accomplishments from Warwick’s career and gave an official commendation on behalf of the university to the celebrated singer. This is not her first honor even from BSU: Warwick held a public conversation with Dr. Stephanie Shonekan, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities, in recent weeks.
Warwick, whose musical career began in 1961, has won six Grammy Awards and her top songs on Spotify currently are “That’s What Friends Are For,” with over 127 million streams, and “I’ll Never Love This Way Again” with over 80 million streams. Her other honors include the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame, the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. A documentary chronicling her life and achievements, “Don’t Make Me Over,” came out earlier this year.
She has also been active on Twitter and earned new fans there, particularly for criticizing Elon Musk as Twitter CEO. Breaux even called her the “Queen of Twitter.”
This is the first performing arts venue that bears Warwick’s name. Concerts, plays and other live performances are coming to the Warwick Theater soon.
Appreciating the honor of receiving a theater in her namesake, Warwick emphasized the importance of institutions such as Bowie State.
“[This university] represents excellence and that is something we all should strive for,” Warwick said. “I’m thrilled to be part of that.”