One of the most underrated but widely recognized moguls of today, Queen Latifah has done just about everything there is to do in the realm of entertainment and she is skillful at all of them!
Talented and focused, Dana Elaine Owens (born March 18, 1970), better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, television producer, record producer, comedienne, and talk show hostess. (Wooo…take a breath!) She has long been considered one of hip-hop’s pioneer feminists. Her work in music, film, and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination.
Latifah was born in Newark, New Jersey, and lived primarily in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita (née Bray), a teacher at Irvington High School and Lancelot Owens, Sr., a police officer. Her parents divorced when Latifah was ten. Her stage name, Latifah (لطيفة laţīfa), meaning “delicate” and “very kind” in Arabic, she found in an Arabic book of names when she was eight. Always a tall girl, the 5’10″ Latifah was a power forward on her high school girls basketball team. She performed the number “Home” from the musical The Wiz in a high school play.
She started beat boxing for the hip-hop group Ladies Fresh and was one of the members of the original version of the Flavor Unit, which, at that time, was a crew of MCs grouped around producer DJ King Gemini, who made a demo recording of Queen Latifah’s rap Princess of the Posse. He gave the recording to Fab 5 Freddy, the host of Yo! MTV Raps. The song got the attention of Tommy Boy Music employee Dante Ross, who signed Latifah and in 1988 issued her first single, “Wrath of My Madness”. She took that opportunity and made the most of it. Twenty-two years in the game, she is still acting in and producing movies, releasing jazz albums and hosting her talk show. All hail the Queen!!