Queen Latifah is famous for being an American actress and former hip hop rapper and singer.


Background

Queen Latifah is the daughter of Rita and Lancelot Owens, Sr. who was a police officer. She was born on March 18, 1970 in Newark, New Jersey. Her mother, Rita worked as a teacher at the High School of Irvington. Her parents separated from each other when Queen was only 10 years old. The break up was hard to handle for Queen because she was still a young girl who did not understand the world. She couldn’t handle the fact that her parents were leaving each other. She wanted them to be together forever. When the news was broke to her, she was devastated and felt that things were not going to work out. Her parents tried to assure that they loved her and even though they were no longer going to be together, they both still cared about her and would try to give her the best life possible.

She attended the same school in which her mother was a teacher. She was born as Dana Elaine Owens but she later took on the stage name of Queen Latifah when she became a hip hop rapper. The meaning of “Latifah” in Arabic is delicate and kind. She grew up as a believer in the Baptist faith because of the way her parents raised her. They would often take her to black churches. Queen enjoyed her time at the church because she loved listening to the choir sing. She was amused by their beautiful songs and messages.

Music Career

She started her music career as a beat boxer for a hip hop group called Ladies Fresh. Latifah would become a wonderful rapper. After her rap song named “Princess of the Posse” was released, she got the attention of Dante Ross, a well respected music producer. He signed her to his record label and helped her release a song called “Wrath of My Madness” in 1988. Her first album named “All Hail the Queen” was released during 1989 when Latifah was only 19 years old. She had a very successful hip hop career and released her fourth studio album “Order in the Court” which released in 1998.

After her fourth rap album, Queen decided to make a huge change in her music career. She was done dropping rhymes over funky hip hop beats. She wanted to return to her roots that she was used to when she would go to church with her parents. Although she was never known for her singing ability, she wanted to challenge herself. She knew that she could rap rhymes whenever she wanted but the new task of signing was foreign to her. She didn’t know if the media and her fans would accept her signing but she didn’t care. If she didn’t take the risk of trying to become a legit singer, she wouldn’t be able to live with herself. All she would have is regret if she didn’t take the dive into the world of signing.

Queen hurled herself towards traditional singing and never wanted to look back at rap. Her first Jazz album was “The Dana Owens Album” which came out in 2004. On July 11, 2007, she gave a splendid jazz concert which took place at the famous Hollywood Bowl in the elegant city of Los Angeles.

Latifah ended up releasing many singing albums which include “Trav’illin’ Light”, “All Hail the Queen II”, ”Persona” and “Duets II”. In 2008, Latifah made her return to Hip-Hop music with some singles but she stills considers herself to be more of a singer than a rapper today.

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Acting Career

Latifah acted in the famous FOX sitcom “Living Single” for duration 5 years. The show was very popular among urban audiences because it featured an all black cast. During a time where white sitcoms like “Friends” was very popular among white audiences, the urban audience also wanted a show that represented their lifestyle. “Living Single” filled the void and Queen was happy to be a major part of the show.

In the movie industry, she started out initially by playing supporting roles in films like “Juice”, “Jungle Fever” and “House Party 2”. The movie that gave Latifah mainstream success in the acting world was “Chicago” in which she portrayed the role of “Mama”. She got nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her excellent role in “Chicago”. She is amongst a list of small hip-hop performers that have received nominations for Academy Awards. Some of her other well-known movies are “Barbershop 2: Back in Business”, “Taxi”, “Scary movie 3”, “Kung Faux”, “Hairspray” and “Beauty Shop”.

She was also the host of her own talk show program called, The Queen Latifah Show. The talk show did not last long but Queen was happy that she at least gave it a try.

Personal Life

Queen was in a relationship Kendu Isaacs for almost a decade. Their relationship lasted from 1992 to 2001. After that relationship, she dated Jeanette Jenkins which was a long 9-year relationship that ended in 2011. She has been together with Ebony Nicholas since 2011. In an interview during March 2016, Latifah announced that she is ready to have children.

Queen is a multi-talented personality, she has had many feathers of talent embedded in her hat. She ended up having a long and successful career as a famous American singer, television producer, songwriter, actress and producer of music.

A surprising thing about her is that she could have even pursued a career in sports if she did not fall in love with music first. She has the body type for sports as she is almost 6 feet tall. In high school, she played the power forward positon for her high school basketball team. She sometimes wonders how it would have been if her life had gone differently and she ended up playing sports. During the early 90s, she competed in MTV’s Rock and Jock basketball game which featured athletes and celebrities. She did pretty well for herself and was among the best celebrity players.

Last Modified: Nov 15, 2020


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