The Kennedy Center Honors will be a remarkably low-key affair this year it seems with dancer Carmen de Lavallade announcing she will not attend in a statement released on Thursday.
‘In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in, and in keeping with the principles that I and so many others have fought for, I will be declining the invitation to attend the reception at the White House,’ state de Lavallade.
That follows similar statements from honorees Lionel Richie, Norman Lear and Gloria Estefan, meaning that only LL Cool J is still confirmed to attend the event.
This is the first time this has happened in the history of the ceremony, with Mel Brooks previously refusing the honor while George W Bush was in office and Paul McCartney claiming to have a cousin’s wedding when he was selected as part of the 2004 class of inductees.
Both of those men were later honored after Barack Obama took office.
Richie was asked if he would attend the event in the wake of Lear’s flat-out refusal to appear at the ceremony and Estefan’s caveat that she would consider going if President Trump agreed to sit down with her and discuss immigration.
‘I have to play it by ear. I’m not really happy as to what’s going on right now, with the – the controversies. And the weekly, daily, hourly. I think I’m going to wait it out and see where it’s going to be, by that time,’ explained Richie on Tuesday during an appearance on Today.
‘I’m going to wait it out. I understand Norman’s point of view. And I understand where we are as a country right now is going backwards.’
He then added: ‘All we can do is sit here and hold our breaths.’