Kennedy Center’s honorees revealed
WASHINGTON — Rapper LL Cool J is set to become the first hip-hop artist to be celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors, one of the top awards in the US arts that marks its 40 th anniversary this year.
Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan, soul singer Lionel Richie, television writer and producer Norman Lear, and dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade are the other 2017 honorees, organizers announced on Thursday.
The awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center will take place on Dec 3.
LL Cool J, whose real name is James Todd Smith, was hailed by Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein for having “taught the world how to rhyme as one of the pioneers of the hip-hop phenomenon”.
The 49-year-old New Yorker is seen as one of the pioneers of pop rap and was the first rapper to gain 10 consecutive platinum-plus selling albums.
He has parlayed his success into an acting career, with a long-running starring role in NCIS: Los Angeles.
“To be the first rap artist honored by the @kencen is beyond anything I could have imagined. Dreams don’t have deadlines. God is great,” tweets the rapper-actor, whose moniker stands for “Ladies Love Cool James.”