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LL Cool J Becomes First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

LL Cool J Becomes First Rapper To Receive Kennedy Center Honor

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Photo Credit: Victoria Ford of Sneakshot for Okayplayer

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors took place this past weekend and the event was a momentous occasion for many reasons but particularly this one — for the first time ever a rapper was awarded with the honor.

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LL Cool J received the honor alongside actress and dancer Carmen de Lavallade, singer and songwriter Gloria Estefan, writer and producer Norman Lear, and singer and songwriter Lionel Richie Sunday night.

“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”

Two years ago it was announced that A Tribe Called Quest‘s Q-Tip was appointed as the very first Artistic Director Of Hip-Hop Culture at The Kennedy Center. Although the Kennedy Center has been presenting hip-hop for over 15 years it has never been a part of its institutional programming until now. 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.

“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.


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