KENNEDY CENTER HONORS Go On Without Trump in Attendance
As BWW previously reported, the honorees for the 40th ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS are actress, dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, singer-songwriter and actress Gloria Estefan, hip hop artist LL COOL J, television writer and producer Norman Lear and renowned musician and record producer Lionel Richie. The annual event took place in DC last night just as it has in past years with one glaring exception - the Commander in Chief was absent from his seat in the presidential box. Yet despite Donald Trump's non-attendance, the honorees received the full red-carpet treatment.
"I'm thankful he chose not to come," honoree Gloria Estefan told USA Today on the red carpet. "All it does is overshadow the accomplishments of people who spent a lifetime trying to do something. As artists we get one night, or in this case three nights, to celebrate it, so it's kind of a bummer when that moment is overshadowed by politics and controversy."
According to Showbiz411, Meryl Streep paid tribute to her former Yale teacher, de Lavallade. Dancer and Broadway vet Misty Copeland also toasted the famed choreographer. Richie was honored by his daughter Nicole, while Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder, Leona Lewis, and Luke Bryan performed some of the singer's most well known songs.
Chaka Khan performed in honor of Gloria Estefan, while Run DMC paide tribute to LL Cool J, along with Queen Latifah. Rob Reiner spoke for Norman Lear, as the audience enjoyed clips from Lear's iconic TV sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons."
Back in August, three of the five inductees announced that in protest of the Trump administration, they would not participate in the White House's official dinner and private ceremony which precedes the award's ceremony. A few days later, the White House announced that Donald Trump and First Lady Melania would not be participating in the White House event.
THE 40th ANNUAL KENNEDY CENTER HONORS will be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 26 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS.