"This movement is grounded in black people's dignity, justice and freedom. It's about love, not violence."

By Brian Ives

Last night, VH1 brought back their Hip-Hop Honors award show; this year’s honorees were all female icons: Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Salt N Pepa and Lil’ Kim.

Given the events of the past few weeks, it seemed obvious that the #BlackLivesMatter movement would be represented and addressed.

In fact, the movement’s founders, Alicia Garza and Darnell Moore opened the show. Possibly in response to negative criticism against #BlackLivesMatter (former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that the movement is “inherently racist” yesterday on CBS Face the Nation), Ms. Garza said, “This movement is grounded in black people’s dignity, justice and freedom. It’s about love, not violence.”

Related: Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder Speak Out Following Week of Tragedy

Mr. Moore continued, “In challenging times, our music heals us, unites us and uplifts us. Black activists are fighting to create a world where all forms of violence – in Baton Rouge, in Minneapolis, in Dallas – are no more. A world where Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, Philander Castile might still be alive.”

Ms. Garza said, “This is not just the work of black people. It is all of our work. We will never stop working to bring about a better world for all of us. Joy is also an important part of our movement.”

There was very little reference to #BlackLivesMatter throughout the rest of the night, when Cheryl “Salt” James said, during Salt N Pepa’s acceptance speech, “I’d like to send this out to families who have lost their children to gun violence. Let’s stick together.”

Queen Latifah said during her acceptance speech, “I’m hoping that we can somehow manage to channel these emotions in a positive way, and really do something to change our world.  If I go outside and try to hail a cab and he passes me for a while woman, racism is still alive and kickin’.  We gotta change this attitude, we must demand respect as women.”


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