Miami is set to represent at Washington’s glittering 40th annual Kennedy Center Honors in December when singer-songwriter Gloria Estefan becomes the latest hometown icon to receive the prestigious award and the first Cuban American to earn the distinction. Estefan’s Kennedy Center Honors recognition, for lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts — be it in music, dance, theater, opera, motion pictures or television — is only the fourth for a Latina artist. Chita Rivera was the first in 2002, followed by Rita Moreno (2015) and Argentine pianist Martha Argerich (2016). Among men, Spanish opera star Plácido Domingo, in 2000, and Mexican-American rock guitarist Carlos Santana, in 2013, received the honor. Estefan, 59, is the first of these women, or men, to base her entire career from Miami. Estefan, the daughter of a Bay of Pigs veteran who served in Vietnam, has won seven Grammys, an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, a National Artistic Achievement Award from the U.S. Congress and, most recently in 2015, President Barack Obama presented Estefan and her husband, Emilio, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW But the Kennedy Center honor, coming at a time when funding for the arts is embattled and immigration reform sparks debate, is special, she said. “It’s a cultural thing, they look at many different things. So I’m happy to receive this award. It’s important to show our contributions to the U.S. that we so dearly love. And it’s one of the highest honors you can get in this avenue,” Estefan said in an interview with the Miami Herald. Joining Estefan as a 2017 honoree are dancer and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, hip-hop artist and actor LL Cool J, television writer and producer Norman Lear, and musician-songwriter Lionel Richie. Last year, Lear called the Estefans to have them update the theme song for his “One Day at a Time” Netflix reboot by adding congas, salsa horns, Cuban jazz licks and Gloria’s vocals to the familiar tune originally written in 1975. “I absolutely adore Norman