Following Black Lives Matter protests in the US and UK after the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling at the hands of police, Queen Latifah has spoken out to say that "racism is still alive and kicking" and called for positive change.
During a speech paying tribute to the women of hip-hop at the VH1 Hip Hop Honours (which you can watch via the link below) Queen Latifah addressed the current "tense" climate, saying: "Listen we all know the world, that our world, is really tense right now.
"There’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot of angst. There’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."
She then went on to address experiences of systematic racism, saying: "I don't care how much money or things I 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. And we have to change that. And I'm not blaming the white lady, she needed a cab too.
"I'm just saying we got to change this attitude."
Latifah also paid homage to her fellow female hip-hop artists and their influence on the genre, declaring: “All of these queens in this building, we built hip-hop. We built hip-hop. And there’s no way that I can allow us to be erased from the history or the future of hip-hop.”
Earlier in the evening, Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, opened the ceremony with a sentiment which echoed Latifah's, saying: "[The Black Lives Matter] movement is grounded in black peoples' dignity, justice and freedom. It's about love, not violence."
Fellow music stars including Beyoncé have also made public calls for peace following the recent shootings. Earlier, Beyoncé posted a short video to Instagram with the names of the five police officers killed in Dallas, Texas, at a Black Lives Matter protest.
In the caption, she wrote a tribute which concluded: "Every human being has the right to gather in peaceful protest without suffering more unnecessary violence. To effect change we must show love in the face of hate and peace in the face of violence."