Queen Latifah Reminds Everyone That Racism Is Still “Alive & Kicking”

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/REX.
At the 2016 VH1 Hip Hop Honors, Queen Latifah took a moment to remind fans in and out of the hip-hop community that many of the racial injustices she and her contemporaries rapped about decades ago are still in the fabric of our society. "I don't care how much money or things I have, or Puff has," Latifah said. "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." In the wake of the recent shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police officers, Latifah's words took on extra weight. While the consequences of institutional racism have been made painfully clear in recent days, as Latifah insisted, inequality runs as wide as it does deep: When a cab driver ignores her in favor of a white woman, that's racism, too. "And we have to change that," Latifah continued. "And I'm not blaming the white lady, she needed a cab, too." Latifah, 46, also pressed hip-hop's male-dominated culture to reflect and honor the women — like Lil' Kim, Missy Elliott, and others — who have always existed at the genre's fringes. "All of these queens in this building, we built hip-hop. We built hip-hop. And there’s no way that I can allow us to be erased from the history or the future of hip-hop," she said. "So understand that this has been happening for a long time and it will continue." Listen to Latifah's speech, below.

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