Gloria Estefan makes history at the 40th Kennedy Center Honors

Gloria Estefan had a historic night at the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, December 3. The Conga singer became the first Cuban American to receive the prestigious honor, which celebrates members of the performing arts who have shaped American culture. The former Miami Sound Machine singer was honored by a number of celebrities who have been inspired by her work.

Actress Rita Moreno celebrated the fellow immigrant with inspiring words saying: “Not lost on me is that one immigrant girl can honor another for her work. This is the stuff of the American dream, and we are living every minute of it.”

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gloria-estafan-emilio-estafanVIEW GALLERY Gloria made history as the first Cuban American to be honored at the Kennedy Center Honors Photo: Getty Images

Music icon Chaka Khan teamed up with Becky G for a performance of Gloria's Coming out of the Dark, while Jon Secada and the cast of On Your Feet performed a song from the Broadway musical, which is based on Gloria and her husband/collaborator Emilio’s lives. Longtime friend Eva Longoria spoke about the 60-year-old's legacy. She then took to Twitter to continue her sentiments from the evening and wrote: "Last night I had the pleasure to be part of the #KennedyCenterHonors tribute to my dear friend @GloriaEstefan. An incredible night full with love and respect for an incredible woman."

MORE: Gloria Estefan's mother passes away at the age of 88

However it was Gloria and Emilio's 22-year-old daughter Emily who stole the show with a cover of her mom's 1996 single Reach. During her speech, Gloria thanked her late father for bringing her family to the United States and left the audience with the inspiring words: “You can lose this freedom. We must hold these truths to be self-evident.” The Rhythm is Gonna Get You singer, who was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, was in good company during the ceremony. Singer Lionel Richie, writer-producer Norman Lear, dancer Carmen de Lavallade and LL Cool J, were all presented with an award.

gloria-estefan-honoreesVIEW GALLERY Gloria one was of five honorees, which included LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, Carmen de Lavallade and Norman Lear Photo: Getty Images 

MORE: Gloria and Emilio Estefan travel to Puerto Rico to personally deliever relief 

After the ceremony, Gloria took to her Instagram to share a sweet picture with her fellow recipients. Alongside the photo, she penned: “We are forever bonded,” the photo of the group hugging read in part. “@lionelrichie @llcoolj@carmendelavallade @thenormanlear I feel incredibly blessed to be in the same class with all of you! Your talents & beautiful souls have touched the world and forever changed it for the better! Congratulations! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻❤️❤️❤️ @kennedycenter #KCH #kchonors2017#fantastic5.” The ceremony will air on CBS on December 26.

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