Irish rocker Bono is now a French commander, after being awarded the country’s highest cultural honor in a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday. Culture minister Aurelie Filippetti made Bono a Commander of Arts and Letters in recognition of his contributions to the arts and to charity.
“It is unspeakably special to receive an award from France for being an artist," said the Irish superstar, who lives part-time outside of Nice in the south of France.
“Beyond notes and beyond words, you committed yourself and dedicated your fame and career to wage some of the greatest wars of our time. Not for charity's sake but in the name of justice,” said Filippetti, honoring the rock star’s extensive philanthropic work on behalf of Africa through his ONE charity.
Bono accepted the accolade on behalf of his U2 bandmates as well. "This is a huge honor for me, but really it belongs to the band. I've got the biggest mouth and the loudest voice, but the music we make comes from each other,” he said.
The award makes Bono the most recent recipient of the Order of Arts and Letters, along with other acting and music legends including Sean Connery, Michael Caine and David Bowie, as well as recent recipient Bruce Willis, who received the award in February.
The U2 frontman has been widely recognized for his work in both music and charity, and was previously made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor in France by former president Jacques Chirac in 2003. In 2007, Queen Elizabeth II made him an honorary Knight of the Order of the British Empire.
On Monday, Bono participated in a ceremony in Nice to unveil a plaque honoring Irish writer James Joyce at the hotel where he began writing the epic Finnegans Wake in 1922.