Without Trump, Kennedy Center celebrates Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan

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WASHINGTON (priceshall) – With the notable absence of President Donald Trump, the Kennedy Center on Sunday celebrated singers Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan, rapper LL Neat J, tv producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade with honors for the arts.

2017 Kennedy Centre Honorees (seated L-R) dancer,actress and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, Tv set author Norman Lear, Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan and (standing L-R) Rapper LL Awesome J and singer and songwriter Lionel Ritchie pose for a team photo at the summary of a gala evening meal at the U.S. State Section, in Washington, U.S., December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

The Kennedy Heart Honors are considered the optimum recognition in the region for artists across a lot of fields, and the relevance of the once-a-year party is generally underscored by a White Home reception with the president and the to start with girl.

Not this 12 months.

The White Home said in August that Trump and his spouse, Melania, would not go to, so that these honored could get pleasure from the occasion “without any political distraction.” The White House reception was also canceled after some honorees said they would boycott it.

De Lavallade, 86, stated she resolved she could not attend these types of an function right after Trump explained both proper- and still left-wing extremists have been at fault in a white supremacist rally in Virginia the place one woman died.

“Something in my soul … mentioned no,” she explained to reporters.

The present at the Kennedy Heart alone went on with minimum politics and a great deal of star energy.

Musicians, such as Stevie Marvel, Quincy Jones and Kenny Rogers, paid out tribute to Richie, acknowledged for hits this sort of as “Three Situations a Lady” and “Say You, Say Me.” Singer Leona Lewis completed with a rocking rendition of Richie’s strike music, “All Night time Extended,” bringing the audience to its toes.

Singer and songwriter Estefan, 60, who was born in Havana, Cuba, was feted by her daughter, Emily, who shipped a relocating rendition of her mother’s track “Reach.”

The elder Estefan said she was grateful Trump selected not to go to. “Whenever anything results in being additional about the controversy than the precise achievements of the people today that are receiving the award, it kinda dampens it for every person,” she explained to priceshall on Saturday.

Kennedy Middle Honoree rapper LL Neat J arrives for the Kennedy Centre Honors in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

LL Neat J, 49, who stars in the tv display “NCIS Los Angeles,” produced historical past by getting the to start with hip hop artist to be part of the club of honorees.

“I’ve hardly ever been a lot more influenced,” he instructed priceshall. “It’s a reminder that art matters.” He stated Trump’s presence would have been a distraction.

Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep kicked off a tribute to her 1-time teacher De Lavallade, an actress and a dancer, who wiped tears from her eyes at the conclude of a powerful dance and musical general performance of an American non secular with a twist: “She’s Got the Whole Planet in Her Hands.”

Television producer and writer Lear, famed for producing the hit comedy “All in the Family” as well as “Maude,” “Good Situations,” and “The Jeffersons,” was celebrated for confronting challenging social concerns.

Lear was like a 2nd father, mentioned film maker Rob Reiner, who starred in “All in the Family.” From the stage, he explained, “Norman, I appreciate you,” to which Lear shouted back from the balcony in reaction, “I like you as well.”

Lear, 95, informed priceshall it felt great to be an honoree.

“It almost certainly feels the identical as it could have felt at 80. Almost everything else does,” he quipped, including he was not upset that Trump chose not to show up at. “It wasn’t a hand I wanted to shake.”

Displeasure at the Republican president and his procedures fashioned a refined undercurrent at a Point out Office reception for the honorees on Saturday night.

“Art transcends borders, cultures, politics,” claimed actress Julie Andrews, who emceed the reception. “This function provides us an chance to move absent from divisive discourse and value excellence in art that has been developed for anyone.”

CBS will broadcast the 40th Kennedy Middle Honors display on Dec. 26.

Reporting by Jeff Mason Enhancing by Sandra Maler and Clarence Fernandez

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