Dirk Vanoucek, Jesus Cordero/ Courtesy of The Kennedy Center HonorsLionel Richie and Gloria Estefan are among the notables from the arts and entertainment world who will be saluted at the 2017 edition of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors gala. The 40th annual tribute ceremony will be held December 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

This year’s other Kennedy Center Honors recipients are hip-hop artist LL Cool J, acclaimed television writer and producer Norman Lear, and Cuban-American dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade [day LAH-vah-lahd]. The awards are presented annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to people who have made lasting contributions to American culture through the performing arts.

In announcing the honorees, Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein noted that Richie’s “irresistibly recognizable melodies capture the heart and transcend generations,” and noted that Estefan “has influenced American music through her infectious Miami sound.”

Lionel wrote on his Twitter feed, “I’m incredibly honored to be part of the 2017 class!”

For her part, Estefan posted an Instagram message that reads, “Little did I imagine when my parents brought me as a toddler to the United States from Cuba, in order to be able to raise me in freedom, that I would be receiving one of this nation’s greatest honors. I feel privileged to be included in the galaxy of stars that have received the Kennedy Center Honors.”

The Kennedy Center Honors gala will be recorded for a special that will air on December 26 on CBS at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The star-studded event will feature tribute performances and will be attended by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

The awards themselves will be presented December 2 at the State Department, at a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

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