The honorees of the Kennedy Center talk about the American dream and adversity in a ceremony without trumps: variety –

The honorees of the Kennedy Center talk about the American dream and adversity in a ceremony without trumps: variety


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The political problems of the Trump administration hung like a cloud over the US State Department. UU On Saturday night in the first of two events held to celebrate this year's winners of the Kennedy Center Honors. But a spontaneous series of inspiring life stories delivered by the honorees and their friends turned the evening into an edifying occasion.

The setting was the neoclbadical diplomatic greetings rooms of the State Department, filled with invaluable relics of the nation's attic. Each year about 200 guests pay tribute to the guests who receive their festive ribbons during a ceremony after dinner. It is a coveted invitation for artists, politicians and supporters of the Kennedy Center. It's an intimate affair, in contrast to the gala gala on Sunday that will be filmed for a CBS special on December 26.

This year the attention of KenCen fell on the dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, musical superstars Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, and the pioneer writer, producer and entrepreneur Norman Lear.

The official host of the occasion was embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who stopped his welcome efforts to refute media reports that President Trump fired him soon. The anti-Trump fervor is so strong among the honorees that the White House in August canceled the traditional reception held there when Lear, Richie and Lavallade said they would not attend. Trump even surrendered to this year's honors, a rare occurrence for the US commander-in-chief. UU


  Donald Trump, Melania Trump President Donald

Trump's absence was perfectly fine with Lear. The 95-year-old industry legend told Variety that he was "happy not to go to the White House," but doubted he would enjoy a weekend free of politics. "You can not avoid politics, my head is spinning," he said, referring to the interminable whirlwind of controversies and partisan battles that surrounded the Trump administration.

While carefully avoiding overtly political statements during the evening formal presentations, the honorees expressed their personal experiences fighting against discrimination and prejudice, ending their comments with expressions of challenge, hope and understanding of the bridge building role of the arts.

The hostess of the occasion was the KenCen honoree in 2001, Julie Andrews, who held the reins while introducing the speakers to reflect on each honoree. According to a recently modified format, the honorees are invited, but are not required, to make personal comments after the testimonies, their only duty to speak during the weekend.

First was Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds to promote his lifelong friend Richie as a "surprisingly nice" guy to someone who is a "superstar genius". Richie opened with a vigorous message about the three simple words that epitomize his philosophy and success: "I love you."

"I'm in the business of reminding the world that love is the answer," Richie said of his repertoire of successes, noting that fans want to hear him say it wherever he travels. The message that never gets old, he reflected.

Estefan, born in Cuba, was greeted in 2015 by KenCen, the honored Rita Moreno. After reviewing his personal attributes and his professional successes, Moreno came to the point: "It does not escape me that an immigrant girl can honor another for her work, this is the essence of the American dream, and we are living every minute" , He said.

In his comments, Estefan thanked Moreno, born in Puerto Rico, for being "an example for all immigrants in this country." He said his father took his family to the United States to enjoy freedom, but then issued a warning. "You can lose this freedom." We must hold that these truths are self-evident, "said Estefan.

LL Cool J was provided by Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, who wore a black AC / DC shirt for the occasion.

"This is crazy, man," McDaniels said as he looked around the room full of formal attire. "You guys have no idea how crazy this is" to include rap stars. He then demolished the house with an obscene testimony interrupted by a call from his wife, who responded, while explaining the significance of his fellow artist's unorthodox rise to solo success in a group era.

LL Cool J, who described himself and his compatriot as "the boys on the other side of the tracks," echoed the sentiments. But he said: "I want you to know that the center of the city is a whirlpool." Once in a while someone like me will make it. What you're seeing are the possibilities: what any young African-American could potentially be if given the opportunity and if someone surrounded him. "

Surrounded by his family and colleagues, including Quincy Jones and CBS Corp in 2001 The president and CEO Leslie Moonves, the star of "NCIS: Los Angeles" said that when given a chance to talented people from disadvantaged backgrounds, "they do not always waste it."

Toasting de Lavallade was the actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, He praised the persistence of his long-time friend in overcoming racism and other obstacles on the road to success. "The sweet voice of Lavallade, who along with her late husband Jeffrey Holder frequently attended the honors as guests and animators, conveyed a pbadionate message about the ability of the arts to break down barriers. "Creativity is the most important thing we have in this world," he said.

The last to arrive was the tes of Lear, which was delivered by the respected journalist and commentator Bill Moyers. "Every stream of American life that gathered here tonight began in the upbringing of this man, whose vision of 'Everything in the family' opened the way for many travelers who had never been allowed," he said. .

Moyers said his old friend Lear "revolutionized television, put prime time in long pants, and baptized the United States in a real bathroom." He did so by invoking the simple discourse of ordinary people to remove the stain of hypocrisy, and by persisting against the denial of race, gender and justice. "And he did it all with laughter," Moyers said, praising the "moral outrage for which [Lear] has given his life."

Lear crawled to the podium and looked around the room. "Holy s-" he said to laughter. Lear confessed to having been defeated for being in Ben Franklin's famous room, "crying for every word" of the pbadionate comments of LL Cool J.

The WWII vet recalled that when he was discharged after the war, he recalled that he was "in love with the United States." He said that his form of patriotism means embracing the promises that the United States has made to offer all citizens equality of opportunity and equality of justice according to the law. Lear added that although those words may still be deep in our hearts, "we have promises to fulfill."

(Pictured: Back row: LL Cool J and Lionel Richie, First row: Carmen de Lavallade, Norman Lear and Gloria Estefan)

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