Hip-hop's first lady (though some would attribute that to Roxanne Shanté), the woman behind the moniker is Dana Owens, who was born on March 18th, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She came from a police family--both her father and older brother were cops, which would later influence her rhyming style and life philosophy. Owens witnessed both sides of Black urban life in the USA while growing up. After a brief stint as a Burger King employee, she soon found herself making waves in the hip-hop music scene.
After working as the human beat box alongside Ladies Fresh, she was just 18 years old when she originally broke through in the late 1980s with a style that picked selectively from jazz, reggae, and soul traditions, from beats produced by 'D.J. Mark the 45 King'. Her debut single, "Wrath of My Madness," was released in 1988. A year later, her debut long-player, "All Hail the Queen," enjoyed favored reviews: an old, wise head was evident on the top of her young shoulders. The former Burger King employee maintained her early commitment to answer the misogynist armory of some of her male counterparts and, at the same time, imparted musical good times to all genders. Her name means "delicate and sensitive" in Arabic, but she has often been anything but in her rhymes and the messages she sends out through them. One of the most prominent female hip-hop artists on the scene for over a decade, Queen Latifah has also made tremendous inroads in movies, television, and artist management, with her management company, Flavor Unit, alongside her business partner Shakim Compere. A role model who takes the responsibility to heart, Latifah carefully constructed a fine career for herself--one that is constantly moving upward.
Arrested for assaulting a photographer. [6 February 1996]
Arrested for carrying a loaded pistol & marijuana. [3 February 1996]
Carjacked and a friend was shot. [July 1995]
Older brother Lance Owens, who was a police officer, died in an accident on the motorcycle Latifah bought for him as a present. She still wears the motorcycle key around her neck.
Co-CEO of Flavor Unit Entertainment.
First female rapper to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Ranked #72 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll.
Was set to star in Monster's Ball (2001) alongside Robert De Niro with Sean Penn directing. Unfortunately, producers could not set up the film in time and it was delayed and recast. Her role went to Halle Berry, and DeNiro's to Billy Bob Thornton.
Played power forward on the Irvington Public High School girls' basketball team and led them to two New Jersey state championships.
Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2005 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Actress category for her performances in the films Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004), The Cookout (2004), and Taxi (2004/I), however, she failed to receive a nomination.
She won a Grammy in 1994 for Best Solo Rap Performance for "U.N.I.T.Y."
She was nicknamed "Latifah" (Arabic for delicate and sensitive) by a cousin while she was in her teens.
DJ Tocadisco's song "Nobody (Likes The Records That I Play)" is based on a sample from the film Juice (1992) spoken by Queen Latifah.
Became the first hip-hop artist honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [4 January 2006]
Had not done any musical theatre since high school prior to her role in Chicago (2002).
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". Volume 264, pages 284-285. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2008.
She is of both African American and Native American descent.
Of all her roles to date (2008), her personal favorite is Cleopatra Sims from Set It Off (1996).
Under her birth name, Dana Owens, Queen Latifah and her longtime personal trainer, Jeanette Jenkins, bought a 2,026-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Los Angeles home together in late 2009. The list price for the property was $1,397,000.
She told the audience at a 'Meet the Filmmaker' event at the Apple Store in Soho, New York, that her ideal first project as a director would either be a science fiction film or a project based on a comic book (May 11, 2010).
She was inducted into the 2011 New Jersey Hall of Fame for her contributions to Arts and Entertainment.
I think it's important to create projects as an actor rather than wait for them. I love being able to take an idea and sell it to a studio.
I'm pretty much the same but trying to be better every day. I don't think the success has gone to my head. I don't think I'm alienating friends or losing friends.
I really don't know how to be anyone else, and whenever I try to be anyone else, I fail miserably. Or I disappoint myself. It doesn't build my self-esteem, and it doesn't help me grow me at all.
I'd like to have and adopt [children]. I think I'd be a great mom, honestly. I don't think I'll have any problem giving them all the love in the world. Discipline will be the hard part.
"I wish every woman would love herself and embrace what she was given naturally." quoted in WOMAN'S WORLD (6-7-05)
I am not one to turn down macaroni and cheese, even late at night. I love Italian food. I love pasta...A refrigerator full of water and Gatorade? Honey, that's just not gonna happen. -Woman's World, 6-13-06 issue
There are times you can't really see or even feel how sweet life can be. Hopefully its mountains will be higher than its valleys are deep. I know things that are broken can be fixed. Take the punch if you have to, hit the canvas and then get up again. Life is worth it.
It was a very vulnerable time going from being insecure about my body and who I am to becoming comfortable with me. I had to tune out what the hell everybody else had to say about who I was. When I was able to do that, I felt free.
Dreams become reality when we put our minds to it.
[on moving from singing to acting] My mom taught me to never put all my eggs in one basket. I figured if I wasn't the best rapper, then I shouldn't completely rely on rap.
[on being considered a role model] There's no way I can represent for everyone. I can't represent for all women or all big women or all black women. It's important for people not to make celebrities their source of who they should be in life. I can't take on the pressure of being perfect. Nobody is.
I don't have to really be in the 60s. Every time I hail a cab in New York, and they pass me by and pick up the white person, then I get a dose of it. Or when they don't want to take you to Harlem. I grew up with that.
If my brother and I wanted money in our pockets, we had to get jobs - my first was at Burger King.
|Bringing Down the House (2003)||$1,000,000|
|Beauty Shop (2005)||$10,000,000|
(March 2011) Colts Neck, NJ, USA: Living.
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