Rapper LL Cool J named 2014 Harvard University Artist of the Year

Two-time Grammy Award winner to perform at Jazz in the Gardens March 16

Erick Johnson | 3/13/2014, 9 a.m.
LL Cool J

Rapper LL Cool J., who will be performing at The Jazz in The Gardens this weekend was named 2014 Harvard University Artist of the Year. The Grammy winner was awarded Harvard Foundation’s most prestigious honor at the organization’s annual award ceremony Feb. 22.

LL Cool J was recognized for improving literacy among kids in his music and arts programs in schools. Celebrating his ninth anniversary, his annual Jump & Ball Tournament in his hometown of Queens, N.Y. offers a five -week athletic team-building program dedicated to providing wholesome fun to youths.

He’s also a member of the Red Cross Celebrity Cabinet which raises funds and awareness for other causes related to the organization

“LL. Cool J’s pioneering contributions to a new genre of music and distinguished history of creativity have been lauded by young people around the world, and he is greatly admired or his excellent humanitarian efforts through the Jumpstart program, an initiative that creates early education programs in low-income neighborhoods, which increases school readiness and reduces the achievement gap,” said Foundation Director S. Allen Counter on Harvard’s website.

The star of one of television’s highest-rated shows, CBS “NCIS: Los Angeles, LL Cool J performance on the show earned in two NAACP Image Awards in 2011 and 2012.

He has hosted the Grammy Awards for three consecutive years beginning in 2012.

Previous recipients of the Harvard Foundation award include Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Quincy Jones, Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Wycelf Jean, Herbie Hancock, Matt Damon, Sharon Stone, Andy Garcia and Jackie Chan.