Queen Latifah was honored at Monday’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens on VH1, and used her acceptance speech to make a plea for unity in America during what she called a “really tense” moment in time.
“There’s a lot of tension. There’s a lot of angst. There’s a lot of hurt. There’s 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,” Latifah said. “But not taking no, and really doing something to change the world.”
Latifah added that it wasn’t about her own personal success or wealth, but a larger systemic issue of discrimination against people of color. “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,” she said. “And we have to change that. And I’m not blaming the white lady, she needed a cab too. I’m just saying, we have to change this attitude and we must demand respect as women.”
The comments come amid nationwide protests against police brutality in the wake of the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota.
Watch Latifah’s comments below, via Billboard.