(AllHipHop News) Rapper-turned-actor LL Cool J would have missed out on history if President Donald Trump had decided to attend the Kennedy Center Honors - because he would have stayed away.
The hip-hop legend will become the first rapper to receive the prestigious award at a gala in Washington, D.C. on December 3, and he's relieved he didn't have to choose to stay away if the divisive U.S. leader was the guest of honor.
The "Mama Said Knock You Out" star admits he would have struggled to be there, celebrating his culture, if President Trump had decided to follow his predecessors and show up.
"This is a beautiful thing and I'm glad I can kick down the door for the rest of the guys and girls," he told U.S. talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
"I'm glad that he decided not to attend because it would have been a distraction and it would have been more about who's standing next to who and less about the actual art form, the hip-hop that I worked my heart out all of these years to do what I'm doing..., so I'm glad I can go out there and it's all about the music and the culture and not about a bunch of politics and stuff. It would have been tough for me. I don't know if I would have been able to be a part of that."
LL Cool J insists it's not that he hates Trump, but he wouldn't want to be used as a political tool.
"At the end of the day, for me, it's gotta be about the art. Nobody hired me to be their political activist savior. I'm just gonna focus on the music, focus on the hip-hop and that's what I'm there for. I'm not feeding into that. I'm not feeding the machine."
Gloria Estefan will also make history at the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony, becoming the first Cuban-American musician to be recognized for her lifelong contributions to American culture.
She and LL Cool J will be feted alongside Lionel Richie, dancer Carmen de Lavallade, and veteran U.S. TV writer/producer Norman Lear.