NEW YORK, July 12 (UPI) -- The VH1 Hip Hop Honors were all about the ladies Monday night, with praise going to Queen Latifah, Lil' Kim, Missy Elliott and Salt-N-Pepa, honored for their stellar careers in a male-dominated genre.
A few surprises came along with the honors, Billboard reported. Sean 'Diddy' Combs made an unexpected appearance to honor Lil' Kim. "I flew in here tonight to honor my sister, Lil' Kim," he said. "The way you walk, the way you talk. You always pushed the envelope. There's only one Queen Bee."
Black Lives Matter founders Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore opened the show and Queen Latifah took time during her turn at the mic to talk about racism, how it is alive and well in 2016.
"We all know that the world and our world is really tense right now," Queen Latifah said, referring to the events in Louisiana, Minnesota, Dallas and elsewhere over the past week. "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.
"I don't care how much money or things I have, or Puff has, or Missy 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," she said according to Hollywood Reporter. "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."
Garza opened the show with a similar message. "This movement is grounded in black peoples' dignity, justice and freedom. It's about love, not violence," she said. "Joy is also an important part of our movement."
The show had plenty of excitement as well as sadness and reflection. Eve performed a tribute to Salt-N-Pepa's Shoop, Nelly Furtado led a Missy Elliott medley and First Lady Michelle Obama appeared via video to give "a huge shout-out" to Elliott and Queen Latifah.