The Kennedy Center

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Washington Post

LL Cool J becomes the first rapper to be Kennedy Center Honors recipient

LL Cool J will make history as the first rap musician to be saluted at the Kennedy Center Honors, which marks its 40th anniversary this year with a slate of artists that includes TV writer/producer Norman Lear, singer Gloria Estefan, dancer Carmen de Lavallade and musician Lionel Richie.

“I am blown away. This is the biggest musical award you can receive,” the Queens-born musician and actor said by phone from Los Angeles, where he stars in the CBS hit “NCIS: Los Angeles.” “To be recognized by your country, and to be able to represent hip-hop as an art form is amazing. I’m surprised, grateful, humbled and honored.”

The annual awards for lifetime artistic achievement — set for Dec. 3 in the Kennedy Center Opera House — will be the first under President Trump, who angered many in the arts when he introduced a budget that called for dismantling the National Endowment for the Arts. Although given by the Kennedy Center, the Honors weekend features a dinner at the State Department and a White House reception before the culmination in the Opera House, where the honorees watch from the president’s box as their peers celebrate their legacies. The show will be broadcast at 9 p.m. Dec. 26 on CBS.

 

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Eileen Andrews

Eileen Andrews

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Rachelle Roe

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Lauren Holland

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