￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼She may be an established Hollywood player, but Queen Latifah will always be our favorite around-the-way girl. The dynamic talent debuted with the 1989 album All Hail the Queen and followed up with scores of successful TV and film projects. The star talks to JET about her latest passion, the event that almost destroyed her life and why she supports same-sex love.
There are few ladies who can be credited with ushering an era of girls into womanhood. Dana Owens proudly wears that crown. Known as Queen Latifah, Swahili for gentle and kind, the Newark, NJ, native started out as a rapper in the late ’80s when hip-hop was more about grassroots and backyard brawling than profit margins and counterfeit battles. Like true royalty, Latifah stands head and shoulders above her peers. The Grammy winner’s success may be quantifiable— from hit anthems such as “Ladies first” to starring in and producing her groundbreaking sitcom Living Single to films and lucrative endorsements— but her social impact shouldn’t be based on her net worth. The 44-year-old is responsible for leading hip-hop’s pop transition. her dignified urban authenticity reminds the mainstream that not all folks from the ’hood are plagued by inadequacy. They can be smart, likable and better yet, marketable. Twenty-five years after stepping into the limelight, the entrepreneur continues to thrive with a brand expansion that’s enviable. her most recent project, the top-rated, weekday program The Queen Latifah Show, was recently renewed for a second season. we caught up with the Queen to talk about cleaning house and discover how faith with action has helped her weather the storm and more.
Your latest incarnation of The Queen most people would associate with Latifah Show was a huge risk. Why bring it back after a 13-year hiatus?
I had a lot to share and wanted to add some positivity to daytime TV; something fun, energetic and with a little more flavor. Personally I’m in a much better spot. I’ve done a lot of growing and I’m okay with be- ing in one place for a prolonged amount of time. Before, I was a bit more nomadic. What has changed about the show?
Me! I’m in a totally different place now. I wanted to accomplish so much the last time around— acting, singing, producing— so I wasn’t completely focused. Of course I still enjoy doing all of those things but I really want to be here. I’m so excited to go to work every day on the show.
You mentioned you’ve done a lot of growing, but immaturity isn’t a word you. What’s the reason for the turn?
I wouldn’t say I was immature, just more mature in certain areas. For in- stance, wanting to be more stable and looking at life down the road was some- thing I thought about before, but I was more concerned about being the breadwinner. I never had a boss. When you are responsible for yourself you can do whatever you want. I took full advantage of that. I won’t go into the details, but I’m definitely one of those people who lives life to the fullest.
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(Photo Credit: Ari Michelson/August)