On Monday night, Missy Elliot, Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, and Salt-n-Pepa featuring DJ Spinderella were honoured at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honours’ All Hail the Queens. The night was hosted by Eve and payed homage “to the female pioneers, trailblazers, and trend-setters” of hip-hop and featured distinguished guests from the hip-hop community.
Many artists used their speeches and time on stage to address the ongoing issue of racism in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. Black Lives Matter Founders, Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore opened the evening’s proceedings with a speech explaining what Black Lives Matter is about and how music helps to bring people together and heal, before bringing out Missy Elliot.
Unfortunately Missy herself didn’t perform; however, several other artists including Remy Ma, Trina, Nelly Furtado, Eve, Monica, Fantasia and Tweet all stepped up and performed some of Missy’s songs in her stead. Pharrell Williams, Timbaland, and Busta Rhymes all shared messages of support and love for Missy. One of the more touching moments amongst many that evening was Missy dedicating her award to one of the true pioneers who couldn’t be there in person; the late, great Aaliyah.
Queen Latifah performed twice during the night, joined the first time by Da Brat and Monie Love and later in the show performing U.N.I.T.Y.
Latifah took some time out of her acceptance speech to address the racial tension brewing in the United States. “Listen we all know the world, that our world, is really tense right now,” she began. “I’m hoping that we can somehow manage to channel all of these emotions that we have in a positive way.”
Naughty by Nature, who have collaborated with Queen Latifah a few times, stopped by to honour her with Hip-Hop Hooray while Common was given the opportunity of introducing Queen Latifah, also taking some time to address Black Lives Matter movement. “I also want to take this moment to honour all the sisters who have been on the front lines in our ongoing movement for justice. I’m talking about Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Shirley Chisholm, I’m talking about the Black Lives Matter founders.”
Lil’ Kim performed a variety of her tracks alongside Dej Loaf and Rich Homie Quan. Kim went on to perform the everlasting Get Money by Junior Mafia and The Notorious B.I.G. For Biggie’s verse she decided to hand it over to Rich Homie Quan, who straight up butchered it, embarrassingly forgetting the words.
Quan seemed to be prepared, sporting Biggie’s idiosyncratic Coogi sweater, but once he opened his mouth he merely mumbled a few words and then went quiet before awkwardly ad-libbing his way through the verse. Fair to say Twitter let him know their thoughts on the situation.
When Puffy pull up on Rich Homie Quan back stage pic.twitter.com/fxB7Zw1XHC
— ChampagnePrince✨ (@ReemRozay) July 12, 2016
Lil’ Kim was also honoured with performances from French Montana, Teyana Taylor, Lil Mama and The LOX, among others. P. Diddy made a surprise appearance and delivered a speech in honour of Kim before rolling out a giant birthday cake and leading the crowd in a huge Happy Birthday in her honour.
The night was topped off by a speech by First Lady Michelle Obama, who congratulated the winners in a “Shout out to my girls”.
All Hail the Queens was overall an amazing way to honour some of hip-hop’s greatest female artists and a step forward in acknowledging an ever-growing voice in the genre. Hopefully this is the first of many honouring the many female champions of hip-hop moving forward.