LL Cool J to Become Kennedy Center’s First Hip-Hop Honoree

LLCoolJ (photo via npr.org)

by Rodney Carmichael via npr.org

Thirty years after becoming rap’s first sex symbol, LL Cool J will be the first hip-hop artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors in its 40-year history.

The rapper-turned-actor born James Todd Smith will be inducted with a prestigious 2017 class — including pop stars Lionel Richie, Gloria Estefan, television icon Norman Lear and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade – on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

The honorees will be saluted by performers while seated alongside President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. While Kennedy Center Honors acknowledge the lifetime achievements of contributors to American culture, the list has traditionally been limited in scope. But the inclusion of LL, born James Todd Smith, in this year’s honoree list further expands the center’s growing embrace of hip-hop culture.

Earlier this year the center appointed Simone Eccleston as its first director of Hip-Hop Culture after naming A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip as artistic director of Hip-Hop Culture in 2016. Historic performances by Kendrick Lamar and Common have also underlined the center’s investment, and more programming for the 2017-18 season is expected to be announced in the coming months.

At 49, LL will be the Kennedy Center’s youngest honoree since Stevie Wonder. It’s a long way from home for the St. Albans, Queens native who made his first record, “I Need A Beat,” at 16, after his demo tape made it to the ears of producer and Def Jam founder Rick Rubin. As rap’s first bona fide solo star, LL was larger than life in the 1980s, the first to embody the street-corner swagger and sex appeal that would become a blueprint for future hip-hop icons ranging from Big Daddy Kane to Biggie.

Before an artist like Drake could legitimately mix hip-hop lyricism with R&B vulnerability, LL turned out the first hit rap ballad with 1987’s “I Need Love.” And the ladies loved him for it. Best known today for his starring roles in TV and film, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last year. But after a career spanning 30-plus years and 13 albums, he’s yet to leave rap alone — he’s rumored to be in the studio recording with Dr. Dre.

To read full article, go to: LL Cool J To Become Kennedy Center’s First Hip-Hop Honoree : The Record : NPR

Ice Cube Honored with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Ice Cube (photo via vibe.com)

by Jessica McKinney via vibe.com

It’s hard to think that after roughly 30 years in the music industry and blessing the culture with hits like “F**k the Police” and both the Barbershop and Friday series’, that Ice Cube hasn’t already gotten a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But in reality, he actually hasn’t. That is, until today (June 12), when the hip hop icon was honored with his very own star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Director of Boyz in the Hood, John Singleton, was one of  people who spoke at Ice Cube’s star ceremony Monday afternoon. “The mark of a true man is how many people he influences in his lifetime,” Singleton said. “That’s how I see Cube.” Dr. Dre was also in attendance to watch his longtime friend and former N.W.A partner be honored. While the multi-faceted artist has definitely influenced many, he suggested the honor was still somewhat surprising.

“When you coming up doing music, movies, just trying to be creative, you never figure you’ll be on the Hollywood Walk of Fame one day,” he said.Ice Cube’s Walk of Fame ceremony comes only three days after the release of the 25th anniversary edition of the rapper’s politically-charged album, Death Certificate. Coincidentally, it is only three days before his 48th birthday.

To read more, go to: Clap For Him: Ice Cube Finally Honored With Hollywood Star

New Edition Receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

New Edition receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo via YouTube)

New Edition receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (photo via YouTube)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Today before an enthusiastic crowd of fans, New Edition members Ralph Tresvant, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivens, Ricky Bell, Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California, just a day ahead of the premiere of the group’s three-part miniseries The New Edition Story on BET.

Their 35-plus year career has seen multi-platinum album sales as well as hit singles on the R&B and Pop charts such as “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “If It Isn’t Love,” “Can You Stand The Rain,” and “N.E. Heartbreak.”  To see a promo of the miniseries in advance of its January 24th debut, click below:

To watch the Walk of Fame ceremony in its totality, click below:

LL Cool J Honored With Star On Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame

LL Cool J Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame

LL Cool J Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame (Source: Albert L. Ortega / Getty)

LL Cool J received Hollywood’s biggest honor by snagging a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.  The rapper is being lauded for his career accolades, including being one of the first rappers to sell 10 consecutive platinum plus selling albums, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Queen Latifah and Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs were in attendance speaking during the ceremony about what the actor/rapper’s career has meant to the entertainment industry.

Other notable attendees included Mike Tyson, Russell Simmons and Magic Johnson.

Congratulations, LL!

Watch the moment below:

article by Keyaira Kelly via hellobeautiful.com

Tracy Morgan Returning to “Saturday Night Live” as Host on October 17

Tracy Morgan performs at Mount Airy Casino Resort on Feb. 1, 2014, in Mt. Pocono, Pennsylvania  (BILL MCCAY/GETTY IMAGES)

Tracy Morgan has been on the mend from last year’s accident — and will be ready to return to TV this fall.

The actor/comedian will host “Saturday Night Live” on October 17, marking his first major appearance since suffering extensive injuries in a deadly accident — involving a Walmart truck and a limousine-bus — that killed his good friend, comic James McNair.

“SNL” announced this exciting news on Monday in a tweet.  In June, Morgan, a former “SNL” cast member, told NBC’s “Today” show that he hoped to return to work as soon as he could, saying, “When I’m there, you’ll know it. I’ll get back to making you laugh. I promise you.”

Looks like he’s keeping his promise.

Hopefully before or soon after his “SNL” appearance, Morgan will accept his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – an honor that was announced this June.  Recipients of  Walk of Fame awards have two years to schedule star ceremonies from the date of selection before they expire. Upcoming star ceremonies are normally announced ten days prior to dedication on the official website www.walkoffame.com.

article by Lauren Morass via cbsnews.com; additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

Comedian and Activist Dick Gregory to be Honored with Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

dick gregory (walk of fame)The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has announced that comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory will be honored with the 2,542nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, February 2, 2015.

The star in the category of Live Theatre/Performance will be dedicated at 1650 Vine Street near Hollywood & Vine.

“We are proud to honor Dick Gregory with a star on the Walk of Fame during Black History month. He has given so much to the world with his wisdom through his work in entertainment,” stated Leron Gubler, President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and emcee of the ceremonies.

The star ceremony will be streamed live exclusively on www.walkoffame.com

The day after the ceremony the celebration will continue with the Dick Gregory & Friends All Star Tribute and Toast on Tuesday, February 3, at 8:00 p.m. at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre, 1615 N. Vine Street in Hollywood.

Richard Claxton Gregory aka Dick Gregory is a comedian, civil rights activist, author, recording artist, actor, philosopher and anti-drug crusader. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory, 82, began his career as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s. He was drafted in 1954 while attending Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After being discharged in 1956, with a desire to perform comedy professionally, he moved to Chicago.

Gregory attributes the launch of his career to Hugh Hefner, who watched him perform at Herman Roberts Show Bar. Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club as a replacement for comedian Professor Irwin Corey.

By 1962, Gregory had become a nationally-known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums. Gregory, whose style was detached, ironic, and satirical, gained the attention of audiences with his political and controversial stand up acts. By being both outspoken and provocative, he became a household name and opened many doors for Black entertainers.

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Pharrell Williams Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

An honor: Pharrell Williams was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday for his acclaimed career in music

On top of his seven Grammy awards, Pharrell’s success is now cemented in the streets of LA.  The singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and fashion designer was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday.

In line with his stylish reputation, the superstar appeared in a bright jacket from his line, Billionaire Boys Club, and acid wash jeans adorned with the Adidas logo on his bum.  He finished off the fun look with red Chanel combat boots and a hat with a graphic blue-and-yellow ribbon.

Family affair: The 41-year-old was joined by his family, including wife Helen Lasichanh and son Rocket

Family affair: The 41-year-old was joined by his family, including wife Helen Lasichanh and son Rocket

His wife Helen Lasichanh and son Rocket clapped as the 41-year-old accepted his award and listened to a speech by dear friend, Ellen DeGeneres.

“It’s not possible to experience constant euphoria, but if you’re grateful, you can find happiness in everything.  While I’ve expressed gratitude many times for what my song “Happy” did for me personally, I will never stop saying thank you,” he wrote.

 article by Ariela Kozin via dailymail.co.uk