Queen Latifah was given birth to on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. Her debut album All Hail to the Queen sold greater than 1 million copies, and the single “U.N.I.T.Y” attained Latifah her very first Grammy Award. Latifah earned her first Oscar nomination (best supporting actress) for her performance in the blockbuster musical Chicago.
During Queen Latifah’s Early Life
Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. She was the second child of Lance and Rita Owens, Latifah is known best for her social politics, acting skills and gift for rhyme. When Queen Latifah was 8 years old, a Muslim cousin gave her the play name Latifah, which means “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic. Latifah started singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and had her first general public performance when she sang an edition of “Home” as one of the two Dorothys in a production of The Wizard of Oz at St. Anne’s parochial school.
Throughout her first 12 months of high school, Latifah began informal singing and rapping in the restrooms and locker rooms. In her junior year, she created the rap group, Ladies Fresh, with her friends Tangy B and Landy D. Before long the group was making performances wherever they could.
Her Breakthrough Album
James was commencing a career as a producer and made a demo record of Queen Latifah’s rap Princess of the Posse. He gave the demo to the host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fred Braithwaite (professionally known as “Fab 5 Freddy”). The recording grabbed the eye of Tommy Boy Music employee Dante Ross, who instantly signed Latifah, and in 1988 released her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” The track met with a positive response and afforded her the chance to launch a European tour. The following year, Latifah unveiled her first album, All Hail to the Queen, which went on to sell greater than 1 million copies.
Since she began to earn money, Latifah shown an interest in investment, putting money into a delicatessen along with a video store on the ground floor of the apartment through which she was living. She came to understand that she had a knack for people who do buiness, and realized that there was clearly an opening for her in record production.
In 1991, Latifah organized and became ceo of the Flavor Unit Records and Management Company, based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
By late 1993, the organization had signed 17 rap groups, such as very successful Naughty by Nature. In 1993, Latifah recorded a jazz- and reggae-influenced record titled Black Reign. As the album sold more than 500,000 copies, the single “U.N.I.T.Y.” earned Latifah her first Grammy Award in 1995.
Queen’s Success As An Actor
In the 1990s, Latifah branched out and about into acting. Her big screen debut in Spike Lee’s interracial romance drama Jungle Fever (1991). The next year, Latifah made an appearance in the crime thriller Juice along with Omar Epps and Tupac Shakur. She quickly landed a leading role on the small screen, appearing in the sitcom Living Single from 1993 to ’98. A comedy, which starred Kim Coles, Kim Fields and Erika Alexander, turned out to be a ground-breaking show.
As a talented performer, Latifah tackled both comedic and dramatic parts. She co-starred in Set It Off with Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox, playing as a lesbian bank robber. Two years later, Latifah partnered with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito for the comedy Living Out Loud (1998). In addition, she made an appearance with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector.
Perhaps Latifah’s most recognized film role to date came in the 2002 hit musical Chicago, starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. Her portrayal of prison matron Mama Morton gave her a chance to show off both her singing talents and acting skills. Latifah earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress, loosing to Chicago co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Latifah continued to get powerful reviews for 2003’s romantic comedy Bringing Down the House co-starring with Steve Martin. The next year, she encountered some disappointment with Taxi. She fared better with Beauty Shop (2005) and her voice-over work in the hit animated film Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006).
In 2007, Queen Latifah once again thrilled movie-goers with her musical talents. She made an appearance as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray with John Travolta. Her crime caper Mad Money (2008) with Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes obtained a lot cooler reception.
On the small screen, Latifah made numerous guest television appearances through the years, which include 30 Rock and Single Ladies. She also co-starred in the 2012 TV remake of Steel Magnolias with Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad and Jill Scott. Latifah branched in a fresh direction the next year, going enter the daytime television market with her own talk show, The Queen Latifah Show, which debuted in the fall of 2013.
Along with acting, Queen Latifah is a spokesperson for CoverGirl makeup products. She actually has her very own collection with the company: The Queen Collection.