Gloria Estefan, Norman Lear, Lionel Richie among 2017 Kennedy Center honorees

L-R, top to bottom: Betti Frenceschi/Kennedy Center Honors; Jesus Cordero/Kennedy Center Honors; Robert Voets/CBS; Picasa/Kennedy Center Honors; Dirk Vanoucek/Kennedy Center Honors.(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan, rapper and NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J, and All in the Family creator, writer and producer Norman Lear are among the notables from the arts and entertainment world who will be saluted at the 2017 edition of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors gala.

The 40th annual tribute ceremony will be held December 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

Also being inducted is Cuban-American dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade [day LAH-vah-lahd].

The awards are presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to people who have made lasting contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

In announcing the honorees, Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein noted that Richie’s “irresistibly recognizable melodies capture the heart and transcend generations,” and noted that Estefan “has influenced American music through her infectious Miami sound.”

LL Cool J, born James Todd Smith, makes history as the first rapper ever to be honored by the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center Honors gala will be recorded for a special that will air on December 26 on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The star-studded event will feature tribute performances and will be attended by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

The awards themselves will be presented December 2 at the State Department, at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

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