Missy Elliott, Monie Love, Rapsody & More Give Queen Latifah A Tribute Fit For Royalty At The 46th Kennedy Center Honors

Photo Credit: Kent Nishimura/AFP | Kennedy Center/YouTube

Hip-hop has had many attempts to claim its throne over its 50-year history, but there has only been one queen. At this year’s Kennedy Center Honors, Queen Latifah received much-deserved praise for her 34-year career in entertainment and the many hearts, lives and minds she’s touched with her queendom.

Many, including Emmy-winning actress Kerry Washington, her loving family and hip-hop’s newest Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Missy Elliott (who gave a heartfelt and sincere speech), were on hand to offer kind words about her iconic reign and her many successes. But the biggest moments came when her fellow icons took to the stage to perform her songs in tribute.

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After four-year-old rapper and influencer VanVan gave us all the feels with a short-but-sweet introduction, Yo-Yo kicked it off with Queen's signature cut “Latifah’s Had It Up To Here” backed by D-Nice on the wheels of steel and a full band. It was enough to get the crowd hyped up and ready for Monie Love and MC Lyte to rip the mic for the female empowerment anthem “Ladies First” before all the ladies (including the precocious VanVan) ended their set with a few rounds of the chorus of “U.N.I.T.Y.”

The tribute wasn’t done yet, however. Rapsody hit the stage with a bit of spoken word before taking the Kennedy Center crowd on a stroll through the ’hood with a rendition of “Just Another Day.” That was followed by a surprising appearance by gospel legends The Clark Sisters, whose Lifetime biopic Queen Latifah executive produced. The quartet took the stage to perform their signature song “You Brought The Sunshine” in a medley that also included a bit of Latifah’s “Winki’s Theme” for good measure.

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Queen Latifah is hip-hop royalty and a cultural institution deserving of this and so much more. Watch Missy, Monie Love and MC Lyte give her props and Latifah’s own response to receiving one of the nation’s highest accolades in the videos below. The tribute, and the entirety of The 46th Kennedy Center Honors, can be watched in full right now via Paramount+.

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