The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts honored Lionel Richie for the lifelong contribution and impact he has made on culture, music, and life in their 40th Annual Kennedy Center Honors on Tuesday, December 26th.
Richie is one of the five awardees this year. Along with Richie, rapper LL Cool J, singer and actress Gloria Estefan, writer and producer Norman Lear, and actor, dancer, and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade are the recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.
“Each of this year’s honorees became known to and loved by the world because of their complete originality and bold genius,” says Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter. “They are creators of the highest order, and as President Kennedy’s living memorial, the Kennedy Center is proud to shine a light on their boundless ‘contributions to the human spirit.” According to Rollingstone.
Richie’s friend and country singer Luke Brian honored Richie by performing two of his biggest hits ‘Penny Lover’ and ‘Sail On’, which Richie released in 1979 as a member of Commodores.
“Nobody, in my opinion is more deserving than Lionel when you look at his whole body of work as a singer-songwriter, as a band member, as an individual artist, as what he was able to do with charitable stuff through his year,” says Bryan. “I mean Lionel has always been himself and he embodies certainly what the Kennedy Center Honors is looking for, and the fact that I can stand there on that stage and sing songs from my childhood and my life to one of my heroes in that setting is something I will never forget.” According to Billboard.