Sisterhood in Rap Is Alive and Well at 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors
Do it for the ladies. After a six-year hiatus, VH1 resurrected their Hip Hop Honors show last night (July 11) and it was all about the genre's pioneering women. Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim and Salt-N-Pepa featuring DJ Spinderella were each honored with special tribute performances.
VH1 took over David Geffen Hall at New York City's historic Lincoln Center for the occasion, rolling out the pink carpet for all the A-list and hip-hop attendees. Once inside, decades of star power filled the risers and balconies to honor four of rap's most notable women.
The show opened with a mashup of Missy Elliott's dance-inducing jams like "Get Your Freak On" and "Lose Control" performed by Remy Ma, Trina and Nelly Furtado. Later in the evening, Misdemeanor was honored once again with a soulful tribute by Monica, Fantasia and Tweet. Dressed in godly white, the ladies ran through a medley of Missy's greatest hits, ending with a mashup of the 2001 Grammy-winning and Missy-produced “Lady Marmalade” from the film Moulin Rouge!
When it came time for Salt-N-Pepa and Spinderella to be honored, Ashanti, KeKe Palmer and Dreezy did the ladies' hits justice with high energy moves straight out of the 1980s and vocals to match. New York mainstay Vashtie acted as the girls' DJ for the night, a choice that sat especially well with DJ Spinderella.
"I just want to remind girls to keep pushing," said Spin during the trio's acceptance speech. "And not just push it, push it real good."
Da Brat, Rah Digga, Lady of Rage and Monie Love fell into assembly to honor Queen Latifah with tracks like Queen herself opened the tribute, proving that even with Oscar noms and HBO series, she's still an MC at heart. The ladies ran through hits like "U.N.I.T.Y." and ended with Queen's "Ladies First." Jersey's own Naughty by Nature also honored Queen by turning up the hall with a performance of "Hip-Hop Hooray."
Though the night was rooted in light-hearted celebration, during Latifah's acceptance speech, she took the time to address the ongoing racism in the country and recent acts of police brutality.
"I don't care how much or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy has, or 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."
Lil' Kim, who was also celebrating her birthday, was treated to a tribute performance from Teyana Taylor, Lil Mama, DeJ Loaf The LOX and French Montana. DeJ, Lil Mama and Teyana all dressed in colorful getups and wigs straight out of Kim's Hard Core era and recited the lyrics from "Crush On You," "No Time" and more. Teyana even sported Kim's signature leopard print bikini and sheer red robe and copied the Queen Bee's onstage movements to a T. At the end of the performance surprise guest and Bad Boy general Diddy strolled out nonchalantly to usher Kim into the spotlight and give her the award.
"I wanna ask VH1 and MTV what took so damn long?," said Diddy as he brought the pint-sized powerhouse center stage. "There is only one Queen Bee."
Diddy had dancers wheel out a huge birthday cake for Kim and had the entire room sing "Happy Birthday" to the Queen.
With the rap world being so historically male-dominated, it was refreshing to see the slew of male OGs there to support the ladies. Timbaland, Busta Rhymes, Common, LL Cool J and more were on hand to present and admire the women who've paved the way for hip-hop's newest female acts. A night enveloped in love, respect and unity, everyone was a winner at the 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors. Congrats to all the ladies. Check out the best social media moments from the big night below.
2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors Red Carpet