Rap legend LL Cool J is among the recipients of Harvard University's 2017 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, which honors people who have made significant contributions to black history and culture.

Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay (13th, Selma, Queen Sugar) Democratic political strategist, Donna Brazile, artist Kara Walker, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker were also among the honorees this year. The awards are presented by the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

This has been a significant year for LL. It was recently announced that the hip-hop veteran will be recognized by the Kennedy Center as well. He's the first rap artist to receive the honor in a ceremony that will air in December.

“My late grandmother passed some wise advice to me: ‘If a task is once begun, never leave it ’til it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.’ That adage has guided everything I’ve ever done in my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful, because it has lead me here,” he said of the Kennedy Center honor.

LL will receive the W.E.B. Du Bois medal at the fifth-annual Hutchins Center Honors on Oct. 4 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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