Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Gloria Estefan and other Honourees celebrates the American Dream in Trump-Free ceremony at the Kennedy Center

With the notable absence of President Donald Trump, the Kennedy Center on Sunday celebrated singers Lionel Richie and Gloria Estefan, rapper LL Cool J, television producer Norman Lear and dancer Carmen de Lavallade with honors for the arts.

The awards, known as the Kennedy Center Honors, are considered the top recognition in the country for artists across a variety of fields, and the annual event’s importance is usually highlighted by a White House reception with the president and the first lady.

Not this year.

The White House said in August that Trump and his wife, Melanie, would not attend the performance so that honorees could enjoy it ‘without any political distraction.’ The White House reception was also canceled after some of the honorees – namely producer Norman Lear – said they would boycott it.

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