Queen Latifah Says ‘Racism Is Still Alive and Kicking’ at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors 2016

Queen Latifah gave a passionate speech about racism at the 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens on Monday, July 11, in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around the country. 

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The singer-actress, 46, praised her fellow female artists for paving the way for the hip-hop genre. “All of these queens in this building, we built hip-hop,” she said referencing fellow honorees such as Salt-N-Pepa, Missy Elliott and Lil’ Kim. “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.”

The “Ladies First” singer, who was honored with a tribute by Common, addressed high racial tensions following the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five Dallas police officers. “Listen we all know that the world, that our world, is really tense right now. It’s a lot of angst. It’s a lot of hurt. A lot of pain,” she said. “I’m hoping that we can somehow manage to channel all of these emotions that we have in a positive way by not taking ’no’ and really do something to change our world.”  

Queen Latifah VH1 Hip Hop Honors
Queen Latifah speaks during the VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens at David Geffen Hall on July 11, 2016 in NYC. Theo Wargo/Getty Images for VH1

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Queen Latifah added that fame and status don’t preclude her from experiencing racism too. “I don’t care how much money or things I have, or Puff has or Missy has,” 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 got to change this attitude,” she concluded.

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The cofounders of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore, opened the TV special. “This movement is grounded in black peoples’ dignity, justice and freedom. It’s about love, not violence,” Garza said. Moore added, “In challenging times, our music heals us, unites us and uplifts us.”

Watch Queen Latifah’s full speech in the video above!

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