Queen Latifah has conquered virtually every entertainment medium across her decades-spanning career.
The multi-hyphenate entertainer entered the mainstream consciousness as a rapper before transitioning into a revered actress on films and TV shows such as Living Single, Bessie, Set It Off and most recently, CBS’s The Equalizer. The entertainer, born Dana Owens, also earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance as Matron Mama Morton in the 2002 film Chicago.
At Sunday night’s BET Awards, Queen Latifah was bestowed with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award to honor her accomplishments in the entertainment industry.
During her speech, the Grammy-winning rapper and Oscar-nominated actress heaped praise on BET for giving a space for Black creatives. “I want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine,” Latifah said. “When we couldn’t be played on the radio or other places. We couldn’t get our videos played in other places, there was BET that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine to this night, right now, right here.”
Queen Latifah’s Lifetime Achievement Award honor was complete with a tribute performance from her fellow rapstresses MC Late, Monie Love, Lil’ Kim and Rapsody, all of whom performed two of the legend’s signature songs, “U.N.I.T.Y.” and “Ladies Night.”
“Y’all my sistas in the name of rap,” Queen Latifah said of the group. “I wanted to celebrate us because I know together, we stand stronger than when we tear each other apart. And I’ve seen enough of that.”
“Be Black. Black is beautiful,” she added near the end of the speech, shouting out her longtime partner, Eboni, their son, Rebel, and Pride Month.
Watch Queen Latifah take her throne and accept the Lifetime Achievement Award below.
Queen Latifah’s upcoming projects include season 2 of The Equalizer at CBS.