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Queen Latifah: 'Racism is still alive and kicking'

Published 12/07/2016

Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah insists those in the hip hop industry have got to help change racial attitudes.

Queen Latifah called on the hip hop community to help change attitudes towards African Americans as she was honoured in New York on Monday night (11Jul16).

The rapper-turned-actress was honoured for her success in the male-dominated industry alongside Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim and Salt-N-Pepa during the first VH1 Hip Hop Honors event in six years, dubbed All Hail The Queens.

Common was among those paying tribute to Latifah, who also performed during the show, and she delivered a powerful speech to call for change in attitudes towards African Americans following the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers.

"Listen we all know the world, that our world, is really tense right now," she said during her acceptance speech. "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, but not taking no (word bleeped) and really do something to change our world.

"I don't care how much money or things I have, or Puff has... 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 and we must demand respect as women."

She also told the audience to "open your ears" and embrace the females in hip hop because she won't allow the trailblazers and pioneers being honoured to be erased from the history of the industry, which she claims "All of these Queens in this building" built.

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in a video tribute to Missy and Latifah, while Sean 'Diddy' Combs shocked his longterm associate Lil' Kim by appearing unannounced onstage at the Lincoln Center stage in New York.

"I flew in here tonight to honour my sister, Lil' Kim," he said. "The way you walk, the way you talk. You always pushed the envelope. There's only one Queen Bee... As soon as I heard her rhyme... It was something I had never seen or heard before. I knew she was going to be a superstar."

Lil' Kim was also celebrating her birthday on Monday, so she was surprised with a cake and a song.

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