The Life of Queen Latifah

"It was always important for me to be able to make my own decisions — to be my own boss." This is the brilliant career of Queen Latifah.

She’s widely known as the “First Lady of Hip-Hop.”

She’s an advocate for black women in music and film. Her name is Dana Elaine Owens or better known to the world ass the great Queen Latifah. She was born in 1970, in New Jersey. Her mother was a teacher and her father a police officer.

As a teenager, her first job was at Burger King. “Latifah,” her stage name, comes from the Arabic word for “nice.” In 1989, she released her first solo album: All Hail the Queen in which she fiercely attacked the male chauvinism within the hip-hop industry. In 1990, she founded a production company. At 21, made her acting debut in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever then landed a lead role on the hit series Living Single. Since then, she’s been fighting for the representation of black women on screen. In 1992, after the death of her brother, she and her mother created a foundation to provide scholarships for struggling youth. At 24, she won a Grammy Award for her song “U.N.I.T.Y.,” which denounces street harassment and domestic abuse. The following year, she and her boyfriend were the victims of a carjacking. He was killed in the incident. At 32 she became the first female hip-hop artist to be nominated for an Oscar for her role in Chicago. Then at 36, she became the first hip-hop artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. At 43, Latifah was chosen to sing “America the Beautiful” during the Super Bowl pregame festivities.

At 47, she starred in the movie Girls Trip, a box office smash, whose 4 leads are all black women. In April 2019, she created The Queen Collective program to help women of color produce and direct movies. At 48, she announced a $14 million investment in developing affordable housing in her hometown of Newark, NJ. A year later, she was awarded the W.E.B. Dubois Medal by Harvard University for her contribution to black history and culture.