VH1’s Hip Hop Honors returned on Monday night after a six year absence to honor some of the most prominent female artists in Hip Hop, including Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and Salt-N-Pepa, for their achieving success and blazing a trail in a male-dominated hip hop industry.
In the wake of civil unrest across the United States last week, following the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in two separate police shootings, as well as the deaths of five police officers in Dallas, the evening opened with an intro from activist Darnell Moore and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. “Black Lives Matter is grounded in black people’s dignity, justice and freedom. It’s about love, not violence,” Garza said. “This is not just the work of black people. It is all of our work. We will never stop working to bring about a better world for all of us. Joy is also an important part of our movement.”
Oscar nominated actress, Queen Latifah, also took a moment to address the current racial climate after being honored for her rap accomplishments in a video tribute from First Lady Michelle Obama.
“We all know that the world and our world is really tense right now,” she began, referencing the past week’s events in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas. “It’s a lot of tension. It’s a lot of angst. It’s 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 and really do something to change our world.”
“I don’t care how much money or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy [Elliot] has, 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 gotta change this attitude.” – Queen Latifah