LL Cool J Becomes The First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

LL Cool J became the first rapper to receive a Kennedy Center Honor at a ceremony in Washington, DC tonight. Singer Gloria Estefan, musician Lionel Richie, television producer Norman Lear, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade were also among this year’s honorees. “I am blown away. This is the biggest musical award you can receive,” LL Cool J told The Washington Post. “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.” At 49, he ties with Stevie Wonder as the youngest artist to receive the award. Notably, tonight’s gala is also the first time that neither the current president nor the first lady has attended the Kennedy Center Honors; in August, Donald Trump announced that he would not be attending after multiple honorees threatened to boycott the event if he were present.

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