Queen Latifah, Billy Crystal, and Dionne Warwick are among this year's Kennedy Center honourees.

Leaders at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts have picked Latifah, Crystal, and Warwick to receive their annual lifetime achievement honours alongside Bee Gees star Barry Gibb and opera singer Renée Fleming.

Actor/rapper Latifah told The New York Times that she was stunned when she heard the news.

"I was just in shock for a second," the rapper said. "I just sat there and looked out the window in New York City and thought 'Wow, can you believe this?'"

Latifah is only the second hip-hop artist to be named as an honouree following rapper LL Cool J in 2017.

"It will allow us a moment to be part of the fabric of America, which is really what we are," she added. "It will be one night where the people who are in the highest offices in the most powerful nation in the world will honour hip-hop music and one of its daughters."

The When Harry Met Sally actor told the publication that he got emotional when he found out about the honour.

"I just thought of all the people I worked with, all the frustrations and ups and downs and middles," he recalled. "And it's all condensed into hearing them saying you are one of the honourees."

Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter called this year's group of honourees "an extraordinary mix of individuals who have redefined their art forms".

The Kennedy Center Honors are set to take place at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington D.C. on 3 December.