Queen Latifah Says Racism Is "Still Alive and Kicking" at VH1 Hip Hop Honors

Queen Latifah Hip Hop Honors - H
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Black Lives Matter founders Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore opened Monday's show, which was a tribute to the women of hip hop.

Female empowerment wasn't the only thing on display during the VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens Monday night.

During the televised event, icons Lil' Kim, Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa received tributes — which included surprises from Diddy and Michelle Obama (see below) — for their successes in a male-dominated hip hop industry. 

When it came time for Queen Latifah to take the stage, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress took a moment to address the current racial climate. 

"We all know that the world and our world is really tense right now," she began, referencing the past week's events in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas. "It's a lot of tension. It's a lot of angst. It's 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 and really do something to change our world."

She continued, "I don't care how much money or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy [Elliot] 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."

The 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors made its return after a six-year hiatus, airing live from New York's David Geffen Hall at the Lincoln Center.

A version of this story appeared on billboard.com