Queen Latifah is a queen in her own right. Growing up in Essex County, New Jersey, Latifah knew she was meant to stand out. Born Dana Elaine Owens, she started using her stage name of Latifah at 8 years old. With “Latifah” meaning “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic, the queen used her new nickname as she sang and performed in school and the choir.
Latifah got her start singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey. She continued performing and went to sing a version of “Home” while starring as one of the two Dorothy’s in a “The Wizard Of Oz” production. In high school Latifah continued to perfect her craft and started to mix rap into her singing. By her junior year, the rapper started an all-girls rap group, Ladies First.
Latifah’s mom played an instrumental role in the promotion of her daughter’s music. After linking Latifah up with local DJ Mark James, the "45 King," he created a demo record for her. Latifah’s “Princess of Posse” rap song made its way from James to Fab 5 Freddy and landed at Dante Ross’ desk. Liking what he heard, he quickly signed her to Tommy Boy Music. In 1988 Queen Latifah released her first single, “Wrath Of My Madness,” before dropping her debut album, All Hail the Queen, in 1989, which sold over 1 million copies.
In 1991 Queen Latifah became CEO of Flavor Unit Records and signed many artists including Naughty By Nature. That year, the queen also released her second studio album, Nature of a Sista'. While juggling both business and music, Latifah dropped her second album, Black Reign, which produced the record “U.N.I.T.Y,” which earned her a Grammy in 1995.
From rapping to acting, Queen Latifah can do it all. Throughout her rap career the artist also became a famed actress. From 1993 to 1998 Latifah had a main role in the sitcom Living Single, which is a highly praised Black sitcom. Latifah also went on to hosting her own talk show, The Queen Latifah Show. Latifah’s acting abilities garnered her more and more roles including movies like Jungle Fever, Set It Off, Barbershop 2, Just Wright and Girls Trip to name a few. Not only is Latifah a small- and big-screen star, she’s also amazing in musicals!
In 2002 Latifah starred as Matron “Mama” Morton in the 2002 Academy Award-winning musical film, Chicago. In 2007 she also starred in the Broadway play Hairspray! Latifah has done it all and has even added producer to her resume. That same year she produced and acted in the movie Perfect Holiday. Latifah has been successful in every song she’s touched and movie she’s acted in.
The star has been playing a key role as Carlotta Renee Brown in FOX's hit series Star since 2016. The series will premiere its third season on September 26th of this year. In 2017 she was announced as an executive producer on MTV’s TV series, Scream. Latifah continues to grow and perfect her craft. She has won multiple awards for her work, and her work is yet to be completed. Queen Latifah is truly deserving of the title of Queen in her name.