LOS ANGELES, CA – Queen Latifah was honored at the 2021 BET Awards with the Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday night (June 27). After a tribute performance from her “Ladies First” collaborator Monie Love, Lil Kim, Rapsody and MC Lyte, the seasoned MC/actress took the stage alongside her father to deliver her acceptance speech.
Clearly emotional, Queen Latifah thanked the women who performed for always being her “sisters in the name of rap” and implored women to support each other. Then in a rare moment, the 51-year-old acknowledged her longtime partner Eboni Nichols and their son before wishing everybody a happy Pride Month.
“I’m gonna get off this stage, but I thank you so much for all of you, the fans for supporting every crazy-ass thing I’ve done through the years,” she said toward the end of her speech. “And thank you for making Equalizer No. 1. Eboni, my love. Rebel, my love. Peace. Happy Pride!”
Queen Latifah — who embodied the 2021 BET Awards’ “Year of the Black Woman” theme — was honored for over three decades of dedication to Hip Hop culture and acting. While speaking to the audience, she explained how her late mother help mold her into the powerful Black woman she is today.
“There is no way that I could have had the parents that I was born to — my father, my mother [who died in 2018], who is still so much in me – my family, I love you – my siblings,” she said. “My best friends who ride or die with me whether my face is on the dirt or I’m flying in the skies — they know me. And they’re there for me. I want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful blackness to thrive, to shine.
“When we couldn’t get played on the radio and other places; we couldn’t get our videos played. There was BET, that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine. To this night, right now, right here – bless everybody and everyone in the audience for all your support. Black is beautiful. I was raised by strong black women. We can’t live without each other. Celebrate. Celebrate us so together we stand stronger.”
Latifah has been notoriously quiet about her private life, only revealing the name of her son Rebel last year. She and Nichols have been romantically involved since 2013, with many speculating on her sexuality for years.
According to a 2018 report from Radar Online, the industry powerhouse was planning on proposing to Nichols, but it’s unclear if they’ve actually tied the knot. Nichols was also spotted with a baby bump and welcomed Rebel shortly after.
With last night’s speech, it’s safe to say Queen Latifah has officially come out. Congratulations to the happy couple and their growing family.