At Kennedy Center Honors, a lot of politics makes up for the Trump game. –

At Kennedy Center Honors, a lot of politics makes up for the Trump game.


The political leader of the free world was absent from the Honors of the Kennedy Center on Sunday night, but that did not stop the presenters and interpreters from making a series of political statements.

A list of diverse and powerful artists celebrated the lifelong achievements of singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan, television producer Norman Lear, rapper and actor LL Cool J, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and the musician and producer Lionel Richie in the 40th edition of the national ceremony.

It was perhaps the most diverse clbad of the art center, which Lear scored in a recorded segment of the medal presentation the night before. "I am very proud to be among these honorees who represent my race," Lear snapped.

President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced in August that they would skip the event, becoming the first presidential couple to do so. and de Lavallade suggested that they would boycott the reception of the White House, a key piece of the weekend. In a statement, the Trump said they would not attend "to allow the honorees to celebrate without political distractions."

But this is Washington, so politics found its way into the program.

Caroline Kennedy set the tone in her welcoming remarks by reminding the well-dressed crowd of her father's liberal values.

"My father's commitment to freedom and the rule of law, to religious tolerance and racial justice, nuclear disarmament and scientific innovation inspired a generation that transformed our nation," he said.

The show began with each honoree receiving an individual presentation, which caused some moans from the crowd, who were forced to give five standing ovations in the first few minutes of the series.

The artists were sitting, as always, in the main box of the Opera, where they waved, sang and even cried while their companions paid tribute to their achievements. Joining them in the president's box were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., Kennedy Center President David Rubenstein and President Deborah Rutter. Even without Trump, the black tie event still brought in around $ 6.4 million in donations, a little higher than last year. A two-hour prime-time special will air on CBS on December 26 at 9 p.m.

The first tribute, to Gloria Estefan, began with the 2015 honoree Rita Moreno, recognizing her shared immigrant roots.

"It does not escape me tonight that one immigrant girl is honoring another," Moreno said in a taped segment of the State Department ceremony on Saturday. "This is the American Dream, and Gloria and I live every minute."

The honorees and their guests attended a dinner on Saturday night organized by the honoree Julie Andrews in 2001 at the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson presented the recipients with their distinctive medallions. The traditional Sunday preshow reception at the White House was canceled, replaced by a party at the art center.

Estefan's tribute was an accelerated bilingual celebration of the Cuban-American singer, composer, actress and author, considered the most successful Latin crossover artist in the history of music. Estefan has sold more than 100 million albums, first with the Miami Sound Machine and later as a soloist.

"Nobody ever gave a song with more emotional honesty than my Gloria Estefan," said actress Eva Longoria.

Backed by Miami Sound Machine, Latin artist Becky G presented "Mi Tierra", a great success in Spanish for Estefan, and Chaka Khan and the gospel choir of Howard University sang "Coming Out of the Dark." The segment concluded with the cast of "On Your Feet", the Broadway musical based on the lives of Estefan and husband, Emilio, playing a medley of his greatest hits, including "Conga", "Turn the Beat Around "and" Get On Your Feet ". "The production will make a three-week stop at the Kennedy Center starting January 9.

The small screen giant Lear was honored as a television icon and a liberal lion who has fought for progressive causes inside and outside of the waves.

JJ Abrams, the creator of "Lost" and "Alias" of TV, paid tribute to the genius behind the television series "All in the Family", "Maude", "Good Times" and " The Jeffersons. "

" For those of us who write and create entertainment for a living, Norman Lear is a hero. For those of us who care about our human companions, Norman is a superhero, "he said.

A World War II veteran who flew 52 combat missions, Lear is still making comedy.His reboot of" One Day at a Time "on Netflix begins a second season early next year.

The actor Rob Reiner, who appeared in" All in the Family, "described Lear's paternal influence." Norman, I love you, "Reiner began. I love you too, "Lear shouted.

Younger artists, such as Rachel Bloom of" Crazy Ex-Girlfriend "and Kenya Barris, the creator of" Blackish, "described the influence of Lear's art and activism. [19659002] "Norman, thanks to you, there I am," said Barris.

"There is no doubt that Norman Lear is a true champion of people of color," said the star "Blackish" Anthony Anderson.

The production made history by honoring rapper and actor LL Cool J, the first artist of Hip-hop in wearing the rainbow medallion. A winner of two Grammy awards, LL burst onto the scene in 1984 as one of the first hits of Def Jam Recordings. He stars in the CBS drama "NCIS: Los Angeles."

"We are witnesses of history," Queen Latifah extolled. "Tonight we honor L for his contribution to our culture that started with him hitting a trash bin at the corner of Farmers Boulevard."

The stage was transformed into a dance club, with DJ Z-Trip directing a segment featuring Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star performing "Mama Said Knock You Out" and Darryl "DMC" McDaniels from Run-DMC offering a powerful " Rock the Bells ". However, the noisy bbad was not adapted to the majority of the audience, who remained seated even when the artists begged them to stop. Some even covered their ears.

Meryl Streep, honored in 2011, presented the tribute to the dancer and choreographer of Lavallade, an artist who breaks down barriers that began her career at the age of 17 with Lester Horton Dance Theater. The Los Angeles native played dances created for her by Alvin Ailey, John Butler and Agnes de Mille and was principal dancer at the Metropolitan Opera and guest artist at the American Ballet Theater.

While a teacher at the Yale Drama School, she starred in a Yale Repertory Theater production of "A Midsummer Night & # 39; s Dream" starring a young Streep.

Streep described a protective teacher who cared deeply about her students. But when it comes to characterizing her unique style, she cites Horton: "Her teacher, Lester Horton, called her Balinese top, African background, that combination of power and fragility, that's Carmen."

Misty Copeland hailed the role of Lavallade as a pioneer. "I, like a dancer of the first black dancer dancing at the Metropolitan Opera House, stand on your shoulders," said Copeland before dancing a duet with Robert Fairchild to "Bill", sung by Rebecca Luker.

He was joined on stage by the current and former dancers of the American Ballet Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Dance Theater of Harlem, as well as Howard's gospel choir for "She's Got the Whole World in Her Hands ", a performance that led to Lavallade, and many others, to tears.

The evening concluded with a joyful tribute to the music of Richie, a pop superstar and Grammy winner and Academy Award winner, who has sold more than 100 million albums.

Stevie Wonder, winner of the Kennedy Center in 1999, started on a grand piano with "Hello" and "Easy". Kenny Rogers – who had a hit album with "Lady" by Richie – presented the biographical video that tracked Richie's start as the founder of the Commodores before going so far.

Country singer Luke Bryan, who will join Richie as judge on the next season of "American Idol," performed "Penny Love" and "Sail On" while Richie and LL danced in a wheelchair and sang from their seating.

Quincy Jones, a honoree in 2001, recalled bringing Richie and Michael Jackson together for a fundraiser. They created "We Are the World," a global sensation that raised $ 60 million.

And, to no one's surprise, the three-hour show ended with a fun "All Night Long" that started with Leona Lewis and ended with Bryan, Wonder and Jones, and finally, the audience, dancing to the beat. 19659037] [ad_2]
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