Queen Latifah Honors Hip-Hop’s Women Pioneers In An All-Star Showing Of U.N.I.T.Y. (Video)

Last night (July 11), Hip-Hop Honors returned to television, with a special dedication to the ladies. Queen Latifah was one of the honorees of the evening. The MC-turned-actor-turned-singer returned to her late 1980s and early 1990s catalog of hits from the burgeoning days of the Flavor Unit.

One of the songs Latifah performed on the Vh1 program was “U.N.I.T.Y.” from 1993’s Black Reign album. The highest-charting single of Dana Owens’ career would grab a Grammy Award, and maintain her close working relationship with Naughty By Nature, as it was produced by Kay Gee.

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Last evening in New York City, Latifah rocked the Motown Records with a live Jazz band, and brought a cast of who she called “the pioneers of Hip-Hop.” The MCs joining her included MC Lyte, Mia X (TRU), Nikki D, “the originator” Sha Rock (Funky 4 + 1 More), Suga T (The Click), Rah Digga, Ms. Jade, Da Brat, Boss, The Lady Of Rage, Babs (MTV’s The Band), Monie Love, Queen’s proclaimed “hero” Sweet Tee, and Yo-Yo. Heather B, Eve, and Lil’ Kim were also on stage.

This was a true act of “U.N.I.T.Y.” 35 years after Sha Rock brought rapping (by a female) to network television, and 23 years after a call for union about lyrical ladies.

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The moving backdrop behind the stage also featured a number of female MCs not on stage, including the likes of Bahamadia, Ladybug Mecca, Jean Grae, the late Ms. Melody, Roxanne Shanté, and others.

#BonusBeat: Queen Latifah also performed a medley of her hits throughout the decades (“When You’re Good to Mama,” “Come Into My House,” “Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here,” and “Ladies First”). Artists including Missy Elliott, Rage, Yo-Yo, ‘Brat, Monie, and Naughty By Nature:

Additional performances (Lil’ Kim medley, a dancer’s tribute to Missy, and mini-concerts by N.B.N., The L.O.X., and others) from the live July 11 taping.