On Sunday (June 27), Queen Latifah’s years-long work in the entertainment industry was recognized at the BET Awards 2021. The actress, producer and emcee was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award — an honor presented to her by fellow legend MC Lyte.
Lyte briefly touched on her personal relationship with the New Jersey star before introducing a tribute video that featured a slew of entertainers who praised her contributions to Black culture. The likes of Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J and Megan Thee Stallion paid homage to Queen in the montage, which was followed by a performance from Rapsody, Monie Love, Lyte and Lil Kim, who rapped her hits “Ladies First” and “U.N.I.T.Y.”
Holding a picture of her late mother in hand, Queen then accepted the award and delivered a heartfelt speech in which she expressed her love and gratitude for God and all those who have supported her throughout her journey, including her parents, siblings, best friends and BET.
“I’ve always celebrated the woman because I was raised by a strong Black and a father who loves Black woman,” she said before sharing a word about the importance of women uniting. “Together, we stronger than when we tear each other apart. I’m tired of that.” The Beauty Shop actress then shouted out her collaborator Shakim Compere for holding her down after her mother passed away and ended her speech by acknowledging all those celebrating Pride month.
Queen made her entry into the world of entertainment as a rapper in 1989, the same year she delivered her debut project, All Hail the Queen. Unbeknownst to the world, she would soon broadcast her other talents, taking over Hollywood as well. In 1993, she starred in the hit show “Living Single,” which would go on to become a Black classic, but she never shied away from music. During the tenure of the sitcom — which ended in 1998 — she dropped her gold-certified album Black Reign, which featured the women’s empowerment track “U.N.I.T.Y.,” Order in the Court and became the first hip hop artist to ever perform at a Super Bowl halftime show in 1998.
In regards to acting, Queen founded her production company Flavor Unit Entertainment in 1995 alongside Compere. She’s also starred in Set it Off, Just Wright, Last Holiday and most recently the CBS crime drama, “The Equalizer.” Her role in Chicago earned her the 2002 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, her work in Bessie helped her to win a Screen Actors Guild Award and she became a Golden Globe winner in 2008 following her award-winning performance on Life Support. Queen’s contributions to Hollywood were recognized in 2006 when she received her own star on the prestigious Walk of Fame, making history once again as the first hip hop artist to earn the honor.
Congratulations to Queen Latifah!