Queen Latifah used her platform to address the recent national events surrounding racism and police violence, as seen in the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the police officers in Dallas.
“Listen we all know the world, that our world, is really tense right now,” Latifah began her speech at the 2016 VHI1 Hip Hop Honors on Monday (July 11, 2016). “There’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.”
“I don’t care how much or [how many] things I have, or Puff has, or Missy has, or the ladies have” she continued. “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 need to change this attitude, and we must demand respect as women.”
First Lady Michelle Obama issued her praise to Latifah and Missy Elliott, who was also tributed at the Hip Hop Honors, for their support in her “Let Girls Learn” education initiative with the White House in a pre-taped segment.
“I’m so proud of the two of you,” said Obama, “because through your music and your activism — including your support of our ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative — you all are empowering young women around the world to believe in themselves and fulfill their boundless promise.”
“I’m so grateful to you for your passion and your contributions to our world and I can’t wait to see everything you’ll continue to achieve in the years ahead.”
Watch Obama’s video below, and launch the gallery at the top of the page to view more photos from VH1’s Hip Hop Honors ceremony and red carpet.