AceShowbiz - After a few decades, the Kennedy Center Honors has finally included a hip-hop artist. LL Cool J has been confirmed to be the first rapper who will be honored at the presidential event. The 49-year-old rapper/actor will be inducted with other artists, including Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan, on Sunday, December 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.
"I am blown away. This is the biggest musical award you can receive," LL tells The Washington Post. "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 honorees will be saluted by top performers while being seated alongside President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. LL, who ties Stevie Wonder as the youngest artist to receive the award, says that the honor "is not about the current administration." He also claims that he isn't worried about potential backlash.
"I could be totally wrong and face a waterfall of backlash, but this is celebrating me, and the inauguration was celebrating the president," he shares. "I'm not going to shy away from being recognized as an artist. It has to be about the art for me."
LL has also taken to Instagram to celebrate his achievement. "To be the first rap artist honored by the @KennedyCenter is beyond anything I could have imagined," he writes. "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."
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.