the queens of rap took over at vh1's hip hop honors awards

Queen Latifah spoke out about racism, there was a mega Lil’ Kim tribute, and Michelle Obama shared the love for her favorite women in hip hop.

by Lula Ososki
12 July 2016, 5:56pm

Image via Instagram

This year's annual VH1 Hip Hop Honors was a celebration of all the incredible, talented women in hip hop. From Lil' Kim and Missy Elliott to Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa, last night's show painted a bold image of female empowerment, paying tribute the "female pioneers, trailblazers, and trendsetters" who have shaped the sound of hip hop in a predominately male-dominated industry. The show featured a range of performances and honors, suitably closing with a hard-hitting rendition of "U.N.I.T.Y." by Queen Latifah and friends, a track which calls out the disrespect of women in society. Fueled by black girl magic, here are some of the highlights of the night...

There was a mega tribute to Lil' Kim
Lil Mama, Teyana Taylor, French Montana, and The Lox gave an insane performance saluting the iconic rapper, running through some of her biggest hits such as "Crush on You" and "No Time." There was also a short style tribute, showcasing some of Lil' Kim's biggest looks, closed by Winnie Harlow who rocked Kim's purple onesie from the 1999 VMAs. Diddy also made a surprise appearance, announcing Lil' Kim as "The only Queen Bee."

Michelle Obama gave a shout out to her girls
Michelle Obama gave a "Shout out to my girls" in a pre-recorded speech, recognizing the legendary artists Missy Elliot and Queen Latifah who have been supporting the White House's Let Girls Learn initiative. "I'm so proud of the two of you," said the First Lady, "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."

Queen Latifah says racism is still alive and kicking
In a powerful speech before breaking into "U.N.I.T.Y.," Queen Latifah addressed the current racial tensions in the US, calling for a change in attitude. The rapper-turned-actor told the audience, "I don't care how much money or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy [Elliott] 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."

Missy Elliott dedicated her award to Aaliyah
Missy Elliot was amongst the Honorees receiving awards last night. Although she didn't perform herself, a range of artists including Remy Ma, Trina, Nelly Furtado, Eve, Monica, Fantasia, and Tweet took us back in time, playing a set of the hip hop star's classics.

Rich Homie Quan forgot the words while performing Biggie's "Get Money" verse
We all have songs that we don't really know the words to, and settle with humming it out until the chorus. But perhaps not on stage at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors, performing one of Notorious B.I.G's most famous verses from "Get Money" alongside Lil' Kim like Rich Homie Quan last night. After mumbling the first few lines, the American rapper (wearing Biggie's Coogi jumper) fell quiet, ad-libbing his way through the verse. Of course, Twitter went wild, firing up the #YouHadOneJob hashtag.


Text Lula Ososki

Michelle Obama
Missy Elliott
Lil' Kim
vh1 hip hop honors
michelle obama hip hop