Last night (11 July) VH1 hosted their 8th “Hip Hop Honors” TV special, their first event in six years, which pays tribute to old school and golden age hip hop rappers, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhatten, New York City.
This year’s event was called “All Hail The Queens” and was specifically dedicated to women in hip hop, with artists such as Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliot, Salt-N-Pepper and Queen Latifah receiving honors.
Speaking at the event, Queen Latifah spoke out about female representation in hip hop. She said, “There’s so much going on out here in the world I just appreciate that we can just pause and really celebrate something that’s really great. All these of these queens in this building we built hip hop. And there’s no way that I can allow us to be erased from the history or the future of hip hop. So understand that this has been happening for a long time and it will continue. I ask that you, the audience, open your ears and listen to some of the females in this game.”
The singer, rapper, and actor then alluded to the terrible killing of two black men by police officers last week and the devastating events in Dallas after five police officers were killed following a shooting at a peaceful protest.
“Listen, we all know that the world, and our world, is really tense right now,” she said. “There’s a lot of tension, a lot of angst, a lot of hurt, a lot of pain. I’m hoping that we can somehow manage to channel all of these emotions that we have in a positive way.”
Continuing, she added, “I don’t care how much or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy has, or the ladies have—if I go outside and try to hail a cab and he passes me for the white woman standing right there, that racism is still alive and kicking. And we have to change that. And I’m not blaming the white lady, she needed a cab too. I’m just saying, we’ve got to change this attitude.”
Along with giving a speech at the event, Queen Latifah also performed twice, closing the show with a performance of “U.N.I.T.Y.”
Also speaking at the event were #BlackLivesMatter founders Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore, who talked about how the movement was formed, with Garza saying, “This movement is grounded in black peoples’ dignity, justice, and freedom. It’s about love, not violence.”
Later she added, “We will never stop working to bring about a better world for all of us. Joy is also an important part of our movement.”
Watch Queen Letifah’s speech below.