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LL Cool J, Ava DuVernay to Receive Du Bois Medal

The 2015 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal ceremony.
The 2015 W.E.B. Du Bois Medal ceremony. By Saul A. Urbina-Johanson
By Leah S. Yared, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard will honor rapper and actor LL Cool J, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and several others with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal—the University’s highest honor for contributions to African and African-American culture— next month.

The ceremony, scheduled for Oct. 4 in Sanders Theatre this year, is an annual event that recognizes preeminent thinkers, businesspeople, politicians, and artists.

This time around, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson, artist Kara Walker, and Ford President Darren Walker will also be recognized. In years past, University President Drew G. Faust has presented awards, alongside African and African American Studies professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and department chair Lawrence D. Bobo.

The Du Bois Medal was first presented in 2000, and past winners include Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Steven Spielberg, and Chinua Achebe.

In 2015, former U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and hip-hop artist Nas were among nine to win the Medal.

“These are the things the kids need to see,” Nas said in his awards speech.

—Staff writer Leah S. Yared can be reached at leah.yared@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @LeahYared.

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