Lionel Richie mulls skipping Kennedy Center Honors over political 'controversies'

Posted at 12:49 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 15:49:05-04

(KGTV) - Recording artist Lionel Richie may skip out on participating in the annual Kennedy Center Honors celebration, citing political "controversies."

Speaking on the "Today" show Tuesday, Richie said he would play his participation in the 40th annual celebration of the arts "by ear."

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"I'm going to just play it by ear," Richie told hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie. "I must tell you, I’m not really happy as to what’s going on right now with the controversies. They’re weekly, daily, hourly."

Richie did note that a lot could change by December when the ceremony is held.

"I think I'm just going to wait it out for a minute and see where it's going to be by that time," Richie said. “We may be in a whole other world by that time."

Honorees are traditionally honored by their peers and the President of the United States and First Lady inside the Kennedy Center Opera House.

Richie's fellow honorees, actress Gloria Estefan and producer Norman Lear, have expressed concerns with attending the ceremony this year.

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Lear announced he plans to skip the White House reception with President Donald Trump and Estefan said she'd like to discuss immigration with the president if she attends.

"I totally understand Norman's point of view and I understand where we are as a country right now is going backward," Richie said. "But all we can do is kind of sit here, and hold our breaths for a minute.

"But I'll let you know about that. Stay tuned," he added. 

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This year's awards will also honor choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and hip hop artist LL Cool J.