Today In Hip-Hop: Afeni Shakur & Voletta Wallace Appear On Stage Together At The VMAs

On this day, September 9, in hip-hop history…

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1999: Approximately three years after the tragic deaths of their sons, Afeni Shakur and Voletta Wallace – the mothers of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G respectively – shared the stage together at MTV’s annual Video Music Awards in 1999. The grieving mothers were brought on stage by actor/rapper Will Smith to present the award for Best Rap Video and to honor the legacies of their fallen sons. For many, their joint appearance was seen as a healing moment for hip-hop with the uniting of two mothers of once bitter enemies seen as a de facto prayer for peace.

The union was not the only significant hip-hop moment on the show. In one of the most memorable moments on the show of all-time, Diano Ross appeared on stage with Lil Kim where Ross famously jiggled Kim’s partially exposed breast. The Beastie Boys’ Adam Horowitz famously made a plea to stop sexual violence in the wake of the assaults that occurred at Woodstock ’99. Meanwhile, the top awards of the show including Best Video, Best Male Video and Best Female Video were swept by rap music that year. Lauryn Hill took the top nod as “Doo Wop (That Thing)” won Best Female and Video Of The Year – the first time for a hip-hop artist – while Will Smith took Best Male Video for “Miami.”