Art Legends Reject Invitation To White House For Kennedy Center Honors

"I will be declining to attend the reception at the White House,” said Kennedy Center honoree Carmen de Lavallade in an official statement Thursday.

2017 Kennedy Center Honorees, L-R: Carmen de Lavallade, Gloria Estefan, LL Cool J, Lionel Richie, Norman Lear

Joining the list of championship-winning athletes who have declined invitations to the White House is legendary dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade.

De Lavallade is one of five artists chosen for the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors, an accolade that includes a visit to the White House for a celebratory reception, Jezebel reports.

“In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in,” de Lavallade said in a statement issued Thursday, “and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining to attend the reception at the White House.”

Additionally, television writer and producer Norman Lear — who is also one of this year’s honorees — said that he doesn’t plan to attend either.

“I can’t see myself visiting a White House, what [Trump] called a dump, that dumps on the National Endowment for the Arts,” he reportedly said earlier this month.

It should be noted that along with Trump being a neo-Nazi sympathizer, his budget proposes defunding art-focused agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Needless to say, the entire art community isn’t pleased with Trump in this time for more than one reason.

Other award recipients include legendary singers Lionel Richie — who reportedly told the “Today” show that he’s “gonna just play it by ear” — and Gloria Estefan, who reportedly said she would attend, but only to have a chance to speak with Trump about his immigration stance.

However, despite their refusal to affirm or deny their attendance to the public, Metro reports that neither Richie or Estefan has confirmed their presence with the White House as of yet.

Alas, Jezebel reports that black hip-hop artist and actor LL Cool J is the one honoree who has agreed to attend. But, hopefully, his fellow honorees will sway him to reconsider so that they can present a united front against Trump — if not for his blatant racism, then at least for his attack on the arts. 

Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS/Mike Theiler

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