After a fiery tribute to two of Queen Latifah’s pioneering hip-hop classics at the 2021 BET Awards, the Queen herself took the stage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on Sunday (June 27) night.
Latifah, recipient of the BET’s lifetime achievement award, had been holding back tears while watching a medley of her music from Lil’ Kim, Rapsody, MC Lyte and Monie Love. So when she took the stage to deliver an acceptance speech, it took her a moment to compose herself. “I’m so extremely moved I don’t even know what to…” she said, getting choked up a bit.
“I want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine,” Latifah said during her speech. “When we couldn’t get played on the radio and other places, we couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET that allowed us to be in our fullness.”
Latifah also thanked God, her father (who was onstage with her) and her late mother (whom she carried a photo of onstage). “I’ve always celebrated the woman because I was raised by a strong Black woman,” she said, raising the photo of her mother. “And raised by a father who loves women,” she continued, motioning to her father.
Queen Latifah also gave a heartfelt, substantial shout-out to her business partner Shakim Compere, who co-founded Flavor Unit Entertainment with her in the ‘90s. “Thank you for always protecting me and loving me… you and your family are my family.”