Los Angeles, CA – The 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards were held in Los Angeles on Sunday night (September 19) and featured an unexpected tribute to the late Biz Markie.
Early on in the ceremony, LL COOL J, Cedric, Lil Dickey and Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson did a medley of Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” but injected their own lyrics into the hit song. Meanwhile, people in the audience such as Tracee Ellis-Ross and Anthony Anderson danced and sang along to the Hip Hop classic.
@RitaWilson rapping to Biz Markie's "Just A Friend" was NOT what I was expecting to see this evening.
But she was good!
(and now I have that song stuck in my head) https://t.co/IJPRxnjanK
— KMG365 ☕ 🥀 🐝 (@starbucksgirl51) September 20, 2021
The Juice Crew legend passed away on July 16 following a year-long battle with diabetes complications, and the Hip Hop community is certainly still feeling the loss.
Twitter soon erupted with applause for the Biz honor with comments such as “What a way to celebrate to Biz Markie” and “This Biz Markie tribute is awesome.”
— Casey Mae DePompa (@CaseyMaeDePompa) September 20, 2021
Of course, not everybody was feeling it. As one person noted, “I bet half these people don’t even know who Biz Markie is,” while others noted they didn’t mention Biz Markie’s contributions to the popular Emmy Award-winning children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba.
The “Clown Prince of Hip Hop” toured with a live rendition of the show for several years in addition to appearing on multiple episodes, prompting one person to write, “A tribute to Biz Markie without any reference to his multiple televised performances on Yo Gabba Gabba feels real fakey at a tv awards show.”
A tribute to Biz Markie without any reference to his multiple televised performances on Yo Gabba Gabba feels real fakey at a tv awards show. pic.twitter.com/EddybnUg4F
— Jeff Goldsmith (@yogoldsmith) September 20, 2021
But again, the reactions to the Emmy’s Biz Markie tribute were overwhelmingly mixed, although most people seemed to agree acknowledging the Biz at all was a win for Hip Hop culture — no matter how many “white women” were twerking during the performance.
Check out some of the reactions below.
I did not turn on the Emmy’s to watch white women twerk to Biz Markie. #RIP
— Nay (@NayQueenCole) September 20, 2021
Biz Markie would not approve of this clown shit
— Operation Save America (@RINOBusters) September 20, 2021
Nothing says Emmys so white, like a bunch of famous white people doing too much while rapping Biz Markie.
— Michelle Fisher (@Misschelly17) September 20, 2021
— Ժҽղíտҽ ɾҽղҽҽ (@deniserenee24) September 20, 2021
Hip hop is for everyone. Anyone who wants to be apart of it can as long as you respect the culture. Looks like she did that. It’s a nice tribute to Biz Markie. He was a icon.
— KO ULTRA (@ko_ultra) September 20, 2021
@TVGrimReaper Loved Biz Markie, but the opening of the Emmys was confusing. Who is the “he” in you “ say he’s just a friend?” Lazy writing for a show that celebrates television?
— Lee Weiss (@lweiss1027) September 20, 2021
Rita Wilson rapping the only song White People know by Biz Markie “Just A Friend”.
— 💎𝓒𝓪𝓻𝓪𝓶𝓮𝓵 𝓢𝔀𝓮𝓮𝓽𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼✨ (@Caramel_Angel7) September 20, 2021
I'm slightly late with the tweet take, but I thought the Emmy opening was perfect. A sweet tribute to Biz Markie and TV overall plus a fun way to use the celebs without it being over produced
— Tiffany Hudson (@TiffanyRHudson) September 20, 2021
I have no comment on them fugging up Biz Markie's classic.
— Robertthe3rdfromPhilly (@Robertthe3rdba1) September 20, 2021
Now we know where Chet gets it from. Get it @RitaWilson! @CedEntertainer and @llcoolj and @theebillyporter got the crowd rocking. Okay @TheEmmys. We see you. R.I.P. @BizMarkie Still bringing out the best in people with your music. Still got what we need. pic.twitter.com/fhAPMnRIN4
— Nsenga Burton, Ph.D. (@Ntellectual) September 20, 2021