In December of 2017, LL Cool J was the first-ever hip-hop artist (and the youngest) to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor. LL Cool J was honored at the 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors with such luminaries as Lionel Richie, Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, and Norman Lear.
At the 2018 We Are Family Foundation GALA, LL Cool J was honored alongside The Who front-man Roger Daltrey, CBE, who received the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Peacemaker Award.
Nile Rodgers, the co-founder and chairman of the We Are Family Foundation, praised LL Cool J for being very “inspirational,” and subsequently described him as “altruistic, wonderful and kind.” The acclaimed rapper was presented with the “Humanitarian Award” from the We Are Family Foundation.
LL Cool J, who stage name stands for “Ladies Love Cool James,” noted that he is a “kid from Queens,” and no matter what he does in Hollywood, he does not forget where he came from. “We speak through art, and art speaks to us,” he said. He added that he is moved and inspired by what the people in the room (and the We Are Family Foundation) are doing.
In his genuine acceptance speech, LL Cool J thanked his wife and family and mom, who was in the audience. He gave a special shout-out to Grandmaster Flash, who also attended event. “I stand on the shoulders of Grandmaster Flash. Thank you for being you, DJ Grandmaster Flash,” he said.
On the 2018 We Are Family Foundation GALA, LL Cool J said, “I am honored to be a part of something like this. Helping kids and creating the future now. It’s a beautiful thing. I am just happy to be here with Nile [Rodgers]. This is great, man. There is so much going on in the world, and it’s nice to kind of pay it forward and put some positive energy out there. It feels great.”
This year, LL Cool J earned his fourth nomination for the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. “I appreciate that. I am very thankful for everything that has happened in my career. What can I say. Thank you,” he said, graciously.
As an artist, LL Cool J shared that he “respects music and musicianship.” He noted that in the hip-hop genre, “we pull from other genres” such as R&B, soul, punk, rock, and funk, among others, and he added that tonight “we are going to pull from the universe.”
LL Cool J live performance
LL Cool J performed at the We Are Family Foundation GALA later on in the evening. He delivered a high-energy performance of “Mama Said Knock You Out,” and it was followed by a spitfire rendition of “Rock the Bells,” where he took his fans on a trip down memory lane to his debut studio album Radio back in 1985. “I love you. Thank you,” he told the fans at the We Are Family Foundation GALA. LL Cool J’s live show was well-received by all, and it garnered an A rating.
To learn more about the We Are Family Foundation, check out its official website.
For more information on LL Cool J, visit his official homepage.