LL Cool J, First Hip Hop Artist To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

History has been made. This year’s Kennedy Center honorees will feature a hip-hop artist for the very first time.

LL Cool J is the first hip hop artist to be honored by the organization. He is in very good company; Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie, Norman Lear, and Carmen de Lavallade are all also honorees this year.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the organization. The awards plan to honor people individuals who have left their mark on American culture through the arts.

Cool J made a statement to The Washington Post, “I am blown away. This is the biggest musical award you can receive. 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 rapper also shared this post on social media:

“My late grandmother passed some wise advice to me: ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it ‘til it’s done. Be thy labor great or small, do it well or not at all.’ That adage has guided everything I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more grateful because it has led me here. To be the first rap artist honored by the @KennedyCenter is beyond anything I could have imagined. I dedicate this honor to the hiphop artists who came before me and those who came after me. This simply proves that dreams don’t have deadlines. God is great.”

The honorees official celebration will be held on Dec. 3 at a gala, which will include performances and tributes from other entertainers. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be in attendance.

According to Essence, the honor ties LL Cool J with the legendary Stevie Wonder as the youngest artist, 49, to accept the award.

The show will air on CBS Dec. 26.

  • Contributed by Amaya Starkey

WHUR Contributor

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