VH1 is an American cable television network famous for its popular culture shows such as “Love & Hip Hop,” “Basketball Wives,” and the “Amber Rose Show.”
It has been six years since the last VH1 Hip Hop Honors occurred in 2010, but it has finally returned last night with a goal to celebrate the Queens of Hip Hop: Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Pepa ft. DJ Spinderella, Lil’ Kim, and Missy Elliot. It began with an opening speech by the co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Alicia Garza, who remembered the lives lost to violence in the past week, and celebrated the power of music, and its healing qualities during times of turmoil.
Then the host of the night, rapper and actress Eve took to the stage to express how crucial the celebrated Queens really were in the world of Hip Hop, a message that was repeated throughout the event as each performer, honoree, and speaker was given a chance to express the profoundness of the event. Missy Elliot revolutionized music videos and embraced her own style, Lil’ Kim was bold in her fashion statement and lyrics, Salt-N-Pepa stayed together for thirty years and counting, and Queen Latifah, of course, who produced more than two dozen TV shows and movies and provided opportunities for People of Color for the entire duration of her career, and continues to do so.
Some notable moments of the night included the appearance of Taryn Manning, Dascha Polanco, and Adrienne C. Moore, cast members of Netflix’s hit show “Orange is the New Black,” who paid tribute to Salt-N-Pepa; Puff Daddy surprising Lil’ Kim for her birthday (and Lil’ Mama’s blond wig, which had fallen off during the performance prior, resting in plain sight right behind his feet); and Betty White’s tribute to Queen Latifah through her own personal interpretation of Queen La’s most famous lines.
Some more profound moments, however, included the special appearance of Michelle Obama, who recognized the significance of the rap Queens and their influence on women everywhere. Then there was Queen Latifah’s heartfelt speech, in which she enlightened the masses on the importance of women everywhere: “the King is the sign, but the Queen is the symbol,” she said. And then, she closed out the night by performing arguably her most famous song “U.N.I.T.Y.” as famous female MC’s, including the original MC LYTE, stood behind her, visual proof that behind every great woman there is a support system to help uplift her to greatness.