LL Cool J Makes History; Becomes First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

by Raheem Karim
Janet Jackson & LL Cool J Are Nominees for the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

LL Cool J

LL Cool J Becomes First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

Legendary Queens, New York rapper LL Cool J has made history becoming the first hip hop artist to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. He received the honor alongside a extraordinary group including actress and dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan, writer and producer Norman Lear, and singer and songwriter Lionel Richie Sunday night.

The Kennedy Center Honors is an annual honor given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

LL Cool J stated in his instagram post, “I believe that we are built to do anything we put our minds and proper actions to,” the rapper wrote in the caption of a picture of himself at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts celebrating the occasion. “You have all the tools inside you that are required for you to fulfill your GOD given purpose. This one is for those who came before me and those who followed me. We were sent to this planet to love and inspire one another. Manifest our dreams and make them a reality. I hope you’re inspired by me because I’m absolutely Inspired by you. Mic check 1212 Let’s ride!! ? #KCHonors #StateDepartmentDinner #hiphop”

LL Cool J has been making contributions to hip hop music for over 30 years with his first album Radio debuting in 1985

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The performing arts center tapped Q-Tip to serve as its first artistic director of hip-hop culture and Simone Eccleston as director of hip-hop culture and contemporary music two years ago.


“Goal number one is to provide a home for the culture: artists, organizations, and individuals interested in presenting hip-hop related programs,” Eccleston previously said. “One of the unique spaces we occupy is being able to provide a multi-faceted view. We can show hip-hop’s contribution to artistic areas across the board.”

Q-Tip kicked off the Kennedy Center’s inaugural hip-hop season alongside jazz pianist Jason Moran back in October.

The 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors will broadcast on Tuesday, Dec. 26 at 9/8c on CBS.

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