Viacom Employee Events & Programs Sends Four of Our Employees to Join the Coronation at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors
More than 3 million viewers set records for the first live airing of VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens on July 11, driving a torrid social media response to this veneration of the genre’s female icons. This love letter to the female forerunners of hip-hip included tributes to Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah, Salt-N-Peppa, Lil’ Kim and more.
The event broadcast from just a couple dozen blocks north of Viacom’s Times Square headquarters, at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Continuing a summer-long contest that has given employees a chance to attend tentpole events such as the BET Awards and the CMT Music Awards, Viacom sent four winners to witness the show live.
Here’s what three of our winners have to say about the stunning ceremony.
Lauren Slinger: Team Assistant, Content Distribution, 1515 Broadway, Viacom Headquarters
Lisa Di Venuta: Why did you want to enter this contest? Are you a hip-hop fan?
Lauren Slinger: Most definitely! I am a 90s baby and grew up listening to hip-hop. I have vivid memories of lip syncing Lil’ Kim and Salt-N-Pepa with my sisters.
Missy Elliott and Queen Latifah are two artists I admire. Missy Elliott created her own sound and blend that shocked the music industry. Queen Latifah has such a powerful voice and unique abilities that evolved over time to make her the ultimate performer today. I wanted to see those artists live.
LD: So I imagine you appreciated the theme of this year’s ceremony?
LS: Yes. Since the show debuted in 2004, it has done much to pay tribute to hip-hop innovators, but males tended to dominate the event. It was great to see this year was dedicated to paying tribute to several female icons and pioneers of hip-hop.
Like Eve said: “Women been hip-hop, women are hip-hop, and women will always be hip-hop.” There are so many other female hip hop artists that built up the genre of hip-hop, and it would be nice to see it continue in future shows.
LD: So have you previously entered any contests for our Viacom award shows?
LS: I have entered basically every contest Viacom has offered. Contests are random, but sometimes they just surprise you.
LD: What was your first thought when you found out you won?
LS: Great, I have plans tonight! [laughs] But it was a shock, and my next thought was, who I shall bring tonight?
LD: So who did you decide to take?
LS: I took my friend David. Like me, he is a lover of old-school hip-hop and we make a great pair.
LD: Which performance was most memorable?
LS: Each performance had its highlights, but for me, Queen Latifah took the stage. I love her as an artist, performer and actress. She started with a nod to her performance in Chicago and then transitioned to Come into My House, Latifah’s Had It up 2 Here and Ladies First. Latifah then returned at the end of the night and worked her way through U.N.I.T.Y.
She also turned the tribute into a much larger celebration, bringing out a number of female rappers including Da Brat, Eve, MC Lyte and Monie Love.
LD: Any other moments that stuck out?
LS: Seeing P. Diddy and Fat Joe (more like Slim Joe now). Watching Eve’s various outfit transitions. Naughty by Nature’s onstage performance. And of course, the tribute to Lil’ Kim’s wardrobe throughout the years.
LD: If you could share one takeaway from the experience with a fellow Viacom employee, what would it be?
LS: It was truly amazing to be in a room with trailblazing artists who pioneered hip hop. As an audience member, you could sense the familiarity and admiration with each entertainer and artist. Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, Salt-N-Pepa, Puff Daddy, Naughty by Nature, LL Cool J, Eve, and so many more were all there.
Amber Jones: Producer, TV Land Brand Creative Group, 345 Hudson
Lisa Di Venuta: Hi Amber. Congratulations on winning! Why did you want to enter this contest?
Amber Jones: I grew up listening to the four honorees (and still do). They all had a major influence on who I am today. They showed young girls and women that it was okay to be outspoken, sexual, different, bold, and demand respect.
LD: Have you previously entered any contests for our Viacom award shows?
LD: Wow, it’s amazing you won on your first time entering. What was your reaction after you found out?
AJ: “Shut up!”
LD: I’d be in disbelief, too. So who did you take as your guest?
AJ: I took my best friend Eva. She’s one of the biggest Lil’ Kim fans that I know. She’s still talking about how amazing the experience was.
LD: Walk me through the night of the show. Did you walk past the red carpet? See any memorable stars? How was Lincoln Center decorated?
AJ: Lincoln Center was beautiful. It was also really cool how a lot of the stars were just hanging amongst the “regular folks” … At one point I was standing next to Orange is the New Black star, Lea DeLaria, and literally almost ran into Timbaland, Coco, and Iced T.
Christina Smith: Sales Service Executive, Viacom Marketing and Partner Solutions, 1515 Broadway
Lisa Di Venuta: Congratulations on winning, Christina! What made you want to enter this contest?
CS: I love music!
LD: It was certainly a great experience for somebody who loves music. So what was the mood like at the show?
CS: Very energetic.
LD: How were your seats?
CS: Great – we sat on the floor!
All summer, our winners have attended some of the most innovative award shows in Viacom history. Read their stories below.
The CMT Music Awards: Shannon Griffith
Logo’s Trailblazer Honors: Joseph Stefan
The BET Awards: Courtney McNulty