LL Cool J and Gloria Estefan make history with Kennedy Center honours

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Hip-hop legend LL Cool J and Gloria Estefan have made history after they were named among the 2017 Kennedy Center honourees.

LL is the only rapper to date to receive the prestigious accolade, while Estefan is the first Cuban-American musician to be recognised for her lifelong contributions to American culture.

They will be feted alongside R&B/soul icon Lionel Richie, veteran U.S. TV writer Norman Lear, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade at a gala in Washington, D.C. on 3 December (17). The event will air on American network CBS on 26 December (17).

"The Kennedy Center Honors spotlights the extraordinary careers of five artists whose talent and ingenuity have enriched and shaped cultural life in America," reads a statement from David Rubinstein, chairman of the Kennedy Center.

"Carmen de Lavallade is a national treasure whose elegance and talent as a dancer led to a career touching many art forms; international superstar Gloria Estefan has influenced American music through her infectious Miami sound; landmark hip-hop artist LL Cool J taught the world how to rhyme as one of the pioneers of the hip-hop phenomenon; Norman Lear spoke to the human condition and sparked poignant cultural conversations with some of the most epochal TV sitcoms of the 20th century; and Lionel Richie's irresistibly recognizable melodies capture the heart and transcend generations."

The ceremony will be the first for U.S. President Donald Trump since his inauguration in January (17).

Estefan and Lear have been outspoken critics of the controversial leader and a representative for the 95-year-old screenwriter has confirmed that although he will attend the ceremony, he will not appear at the reception at the White House, according to Variety.com.

Actor Al Pacino, rock band the Eagles, singer James Taylor, soul legend Mavis Staples, and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich were the Kennedy Center honourees last year (16).

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