Gloria Estefan and LL Cool J to make Kennedy Center Honors history – Los Angeles Times

The Kennedy Center Honors announced a historic crop of honorees for 2017 on Thursday, including the first Cuban American, singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan, and the first hip-hop artist, LL Cool J, to earn the distinction.

Rounding out the honorees are renowned actress, dancer, choreographer and Los Angeles native Carmen de Lavallade; television living legend Norman Lear; and music superstar Lionel Richie. 

“The Kennedy Center Honors spotlights the extraordinary careers of five artists whose talent and ingenuity have enriched and shaped cultural life in America,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement.

“This is a truly exceptional slate of honorees – made even more special by the fact that we will honor these artists as we also celebrate four decades of the Kennedy Center Honors,” said Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter in the statement.

Kennedy Center Honors recipients are recognized for their lifelong contributions to the performing arts, including dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television. 

In 2016, the Kennedy Center Honors recognized Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, rock band the Eagles, actor Al Pacino, singer Mavis Staples and singer-songwriter James Taylor.

The 2017 honorees will be feted at a gala on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage Dec. 3, which CBS will broadcast Dec. 26.

Gloria Estefan and LL Cool J to make Kennedy Center Honors history – Los Angeles Times