Host LL Cool J speaks onstage during 'The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles' at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California

Host LL Cool J speaks onstage during ‘The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles’ at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 27, 2014 in Los Angeles, California

*LL Cool J is Harvard’s 2014 Artist of the Year, and will be honored at the annual Cultural Rhythms Festival on Feb. 22.

Harvard Foundation director S. Allen Counter made the announcement Wednesday, saying of the entertainer born James Todd Smith: “His pioneering contributions to a new genre of music and distinguished history of creativity have been lauded by young people around the world, and he is greatly admired for his excellent humanitarian efforts through the Jumpstart program,” an initiative that enhances early education programs in low-income neighborhoods.

In recent years, the Harvard Foundation has honored Shakira, Quincy Jones, Queen Latifah, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Halle Berry, Jackie Chan, and Denzel Washington.