LLCoolJ Becomes First Rapper to earn Kennedy Center Honor

Photo taken by The Chocolate Voice at NAACP Image Awards

On Saturday evening (Dec. 2), LL became the first rapper to earn the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, which is America’s highest achievement for any performer.

Along with LL Cool J, singer-songwriter Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, TV creator Norman Lear and dancer-actress Carmen de Lavallade were all on hand to receive their award at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The event, while very distinguished, is also top secret and the evening’s honorees usually don’t know who will honor their artistic achievements. The NCIS actor and Lip Sync Battle host has a pretty robust catalogue of music to choose from so whomever is tasked with praising Todd Smith’s musical career, they’ll have a healthy arsenal to choose from.

LL later took to Instagram to speak on the moment and captioned that for hip-hop to be acknowledged was bigger than him.

“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,” LL wrote.

LL later took to Instagram to speak on the moment and captioned that for hip-hop to be acknowledged was bigger than him.

“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,” LL wrote.

The 40th annual ceremony will air on CBS Dec. 26 at 9pm.

This article originally appeared in Vibe.

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