James Todd Smith, better known as LL Cool J will be inducted along with Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie, Norman Lear and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade as the 2017 class of Kennedy Center honorees. This marks the first time ever that a hip hop artist is honored in the celebration’s 40 year history.
He credits his grandmother for his success saying,”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… This simply proves that dreams don’t have deadlines. God is great.”
The Kennedy Center Honors will take place on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. and will air on CBS on Tuesday, December 26 at 9 p.m. ET.