*LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, actress/dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and television writer/producer Norman Lear were announced Thursday among the 2017 Kennedy Center Honorees – the first to be chosen under Donald Trump’s administration.
Let’s just say that some of the honorees are not fans of the current White House.
Per tradition, the honorees are expected to sit with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they watch performances and tributes at the Kennedy Center during the December ceremony. The White House has already confirmed with the Kennedy Center that Trumps will attend the gala and host the pre-gala reception.
According to a news release, “The President and the first lady will receive the honorees, distinguished former honorees and members of the cast, along with the Kennedy Center Board of Trustees, at the White House prior to the gala performance.”
This will be awkward, because several of the nominees have been quite vocal in their criticism of Trump.
During the campaign, Lear called him the “middle finger of the American right hand.”
“I don’t know where love exists in what I see of Donald Trump,” the “All in the Family” creator told CNN days before the election. “I knew where it existed in Archie Bunker and the American people found it. That’s why they cared for him, despite how he talked. He wasn’t a hater. He was somebody who was afraid of progress.”
When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, Estefan joined forces with Latino stars, including Pitbull, Thalia, Wyclef Jean and Rita Moreno to protest his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants. The group recorded a song, “We’re All Mexican,” produced by Estefan’s husband, Emilio Estefan.
Both Gloria Estefan and LL Cool J make history with their Kennedy Center Honors selection, as Estefan becomes the first Cuban American and LL the first hip-hop artist to make the cut.