In honor of hip hop’s 50th anniversary, celebrities and musicians alike have paid their respects to those who laid the foundation for the genre to be what it is today. Will Smith joins that list after sharing a video on Instagram highlighting the women of hip hop who made history at the Grammy Awards. Smith’s clip goes back to 1995 to the ceremony’s 37th award show.
In words written across the screen, the Men In Black actor recalled that on March 1, 1995, Queen Latifah and Salt-N-Pepa became the first female rappers to win a Grammy. It was also the year the award was split into “solo” and “duo/group” categories. That night, the hip hop pair took home the accolade for Best Performance by a Duo or Group for the single “None of Your Business.” “Yo, we waited so long for this,” Salt said during their acceptance speech. “We’ve been down for like 10 years.”
After sharing a picture of Salt-N-Pepa holding the award, the showing fizzled into brief clips of Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y” music video. That song secured the iconic rapper’s first Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. While pictured on stage accepting her accolade in a purple dress, the clips whine like a fast-forward time machine to Feb. 24, 1999, when Lauryn Hill became the first rap artist to win Album of the Year with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. “This is crazy because this is hip hop music,” “The Ex-Factor” singer stated during her speech. Over an image of Hill holding a handful of awards, Smith noted that she also took home Grammys for Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Album, and Best Rhythm and Blues Song, which was the most of any artist that night.
Along with the clip, Smith captioned his IG post, “I remember this like it was yesterday. Salt-N-Pepa official. Queen Latifah. Hip hop 50.”
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“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” star is no stranger to the Grammys, as the Philadelphia native has earned four awards throughout his career. At the 31st annual award ceremony, he won Best Rap Performance for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Three years later, he scored Best Rap Performance by a Duo Or Group for “Summertime.” Then, in 1998, he secured Best Rap Solo Performance for “Men In Black” and, a year later, a second Best Rap Solo Performance for “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.”