Yes, we know Betty White isn’t actually a rapper, but she’s a national treasure so deal with it. On Friday (December 31), news broke the 99-year-old Golden Girl had passed away at her Los Angeles home, roughly two weeks before her 100th birthday. According to TMZ, police and emergency responders arrived on the scene Friday morning and concluded she’d died around 9:30 a.m. local time of natural causes.
A trailblazer and pioneer in media, White had the longest running career for any woman in television, having starred in multiple shows over the past eight decades, beginning in 1939. But she was most famous for her lead role as Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls, which ran from 1985 to 1992.
But White, who regularly trended on Twitter, was embraced by the Hip Hop community and pop culture in general. In 2011, at the ripe age of 89, “Betty From The Block” rocked a few bars for a remix of “I’m Still Hot” by British pop singer Luciana Caporaso. Surrounded by a flock of shirtless men, she rapped, “I hooked up with the Lifeline/I got big cash in no time/I’m living life at the top/Guess what? I’m still hot … I’m still a Golden Girl/I may be a senior but so what? I’m still hot.”
The proceeds from the video went to the Los Angeles Zoo where White was on the board of directors and had helped raise millions of dollars for the organization. The song also peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in 2011.
“It’s a switch for me I will tell you, but it’s fun and they gave me these nice young men to work with that are built like little brick houses,” she said of shooting the video. “It’s challenging, but the boys are being so dear with me.”
In a 2012 skit with Nick Cannon for Betty’s Happy Hour show, White and Cannon had a fictional argument about who recruited Frank Ocean for the 2011 Watch The Throne single “No Church In The Wild” featuring The-Dream — Kanye West or JAY-Z (who she appeared with on Saturday Night Live in 2011).
“Nick and I were just in the middle of a very important argument,” White says before turning to Cannon. “You’re wrong, Nick,” to which he replies, “No I’m not! JAY-Z put on Frank Ocean. That whole ‘No Church In The Wild’ track, that was Jay.”
White snaps back, “I’m telling you, it was Kanye.” Cannon then says, “BW, where are you getting your information? Tiger Beat? Look, Hov is the one who made Rihanna a star and he’s in the know of all the up and comers.”
With that, White says, “Oh really?” then picks up her phone and pretends to call JAY-Z, much to Cannon’s dismay.
“Jay, it’s Betty,” she says. “Was it you or Yeezy who recruited Frank for the ‘No Church In The Wild’ track? Kanye, right? That’s what I thought. Just hanging out with a misinformed homie. Alright. Holla! Told ya.”
White earned numerous awards and accolades over the course of her career, including five Primetime Emmy Awards: two for Mary Tyler Moore, one for The Golden Girls and one for her 1975 Saturday Night Live appearance. She also took home multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards, American Comedy Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album in 2012 for If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t).
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2011, White was awarded an honorary degree and white doctor’s coat by Washington State University at the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association’s centennial gala.
As word of White’s death began to circulate, Zack Fox became a trending Twitter topic for the line, “R.I.P. Betty White/She ain’t dead but for when she die ’cause I know it’s comin’ up,” which comes from the 2019 Kenny Beats-produced track “Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression).” Beats tweeted a screenshot of a text to Fox that read, “Betty White is dead and it’s your fault.” Fox replied, “What if they free Tay fr fr,” a reference to another lyric in the song.
White was looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday on January 17. Shortly before she died, she shared a Twitter post promoting a People article that prematurely celebrated her centennial milestone.
“My 100th birthday,” she wrote. “I cannot believe it is coming up, and People Magazine is celebrating with me! The new issue of @people is available on newsstands nationwide tomorrow.”