Hip Hop on the Nation's Stage: The Kennedy Center Honors

The Nation's Cultural Center Salutes an American Art Form

New York City Breakers perform in tribute to Kennedy Center Honoree Katherine Dunham (1983-12-04) by Jack BuxbaumThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

New York City Breakers (1983)

At the 1983 Honors, the New York City Breakers performed fresh new moves for dance pioneer Katherine Dunham. It also marked the first hip hop performance before a sitting president, as President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan were seated in the box with the Honorees.

New York City Breakers salute Kennedy Center Honoree Katherine Dunham (2016-12-01) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

New York City Breakers (1983)

LL Cool J salutes Kennedy Center Honoree James Brown (2017-12-08) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

LL COOL J salutes Honoree James Brown (2003)

Snoop Dogg performs at the Kennedy Center Honors (2013-12-08) by Jeffrey StaabThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Snoop Dogg salutes Herbie Hancock (2013)

To salute 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dogg performed a mash-up of the jazz and funk pioneer’s “Cantaloupe Island” and his own “Gin and Juice.” The band also featured Marcus Miller, Lionel Loueke, Vinnie Colaiuta, Terence Blanchard, and DJ Mix Master Mike.

Snoop Dogg's Tribute to Kennedy Center Honoree Herbie Hancock (2017-08-08) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

40th Kennedy Center Honorees (2017-12-02) by Scott SuchmanThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

LL COOL J receives the Kennedy Center Honors (2017)

LL COOL J becomes the first hip hop artist to be awarded the nation's highest cultural honor, alongside Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, Norman Lear, and Lionel Richie.

Hip-Hop pioneers on Kennedy Center Honoree LL Cool J (2017-11-30) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Hip hop pioneers talk about why LL COOL J deserves a Kennedy Center Honor.

Queen Latifah on Kennedy Center Honoree LL Cool J (2017-12-05) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Queen Latifah talks about the influence of LL COOL J on her career.

LL COOL J talks about his career on the Red Carpet.

Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star at Kennedy Center Honors (2017-12-20) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Busta Rhymes and Spliff Star salute LL COOL J at the 40th Kennedy Center Honors.

Queen Latifah performs at the Kennedy Center (2019-04-14) by Jati LindsayThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Queen Latifah announced as 2023 Honoree

Hip hop pioneer Queen Latifah is announced as the second hip hop artist and first female emcee to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.

Queen Latifah - "Latifah's Had It Up 2 Here" (2020-03-18) by The Kennedy CenterThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Queen Latifah became the first female hip hop artist to have a solo show in the Concert Hall when she performed in 2019 as part of the Bridge concert series.

Kennedy Center Honors in the Opera House (2017-12-03) by Scott SuchmanThe John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

The 46th Kennedy Center Honors

Queen Latifah will take her place at the Kennedy Center Honors alongside fellow Honorees Billy Crystal, Barry Gibb, Renée Fleming, and Dionne Warwick in the Opera House on December 3, 2023. The program will air on CBS Television and stream on Paramount+ later in December.

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