Dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade was one of five artists selected for the 2017 Kennedy Center Honors, which comes with the skin-crawling caveat that winners visit the White House, now a bastion of white nationalist sympathizers and defunders of the arts, to attend a celebratory reception. De Lavallade issued a statement on Thursday in which she kindly declined the invitation, though she noted she’d still happily accept the honor at the Kennedy Center in December.
“In light of the socially divisive and morally caustic narrative that our current leadership is choosing to engage in,” the statement reads, “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.”
A fellow honoree, television writer and producer Norman Lear, said earlier this month that he was not likely to attend the White House festivities either: “I can’t see myself visiting a White House, what [Trump] called a dump, that dumps on the National Endowment for the Arts.”
Lionel Richie, another Kennedy Center award recipient, said this week during an appearance on the Today show that he’s “gonna just play it by ear,” while Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she’d attend the reception, but only to try to talk to Trump about how wrong he is on immigration, which is pure folly, though well-intentioned. According to Metro UK, however, Estefan and Richie are still not confirmed to attend the event, so it looks like they’re both mulling it over. At this point, with Lavallade backing out, the only confirmed attendee is LL Cool J.