Queen Latifah will not be the recipient of this year's Marian Anderson Award, declining the honor in an announcement Wednesday from the organization and delaying the 2018 Award Gala originally scheduled for Nov. 20 at the Kimmel Center.
A statement from the Marian Anderson Award cited personal reasons for the change.
"We were very surprised that Queen Latifah could not make it this year," a member of the board's executive committee said. "But we expect to be making a big announcement regarding a new honoree very soon."
Representatives for Latifah did not return request for comment.
The award is named for Philadelphia opera singer Marian Anderson. Each year, the award's board of directors selects the honoree from a list of candidates with distinguished careers in the arts. Former winners include Oprah Winfrey in 2003 and Maya Angelou in 2008. Honorees are chosen based on their positive impact on society, either through their work or their support of a cause. Latifah would have been the youngest person and the first rapper to win the award.
Most recently, Latifah starred in the TV drama Star as well as the 2017 movie comedy Girls Trip. (She recently confirmed that a Girls Trip sequel is in the works.)
"Queen Latifah is an excellent role model and clearly a well-deserving recipient of this prestigious honor," he said.
Tickets for the Nov. 20 gala will be honored at the as-yet-announced new date, along with a new honoree. Ticket-holders should direct questions to email@example.com or call the Kimmel Center box office at 215-893-1999.