Inspirational Woman Of The Day

Queen Latifah

Rapper, record producer, and actress Dana Owens aka Queen Latifah was born on March 18,1970 in Newark, New Jersey. Her first album All Hail to the Queen sold over a million copies and the single “U.N.I.T.Y” earned Latifah her first Grammy Award. Latifah’s acting received strong reviews where she earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the blockbuster musical Chicago.

Early Life

Rapper, record producer, actress. Born Dana Owens, on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. The second child of Lance and Rita Owens, she is best known for her social politics as well as her gift for rhyme. When she was 8 years old, a Muslim cousin gave her the nickname Latifah, meaning “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic. Latifah began singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and had her first public performance when she sang a version of “Home” as one of the two Dorothys in a production of The Wizard of Oz at St. Anne’s parochial school.

In her first year of high school, Latifah began informal singing and rapping in the restrooms and locker rooms. In her junior year, she formed a rap group, Ladies Fresh, with her friends Tangy B and Landy D in response to the formation of another young women’s group. Soon the group was making appearances wherever they could. Latifah’s mother was a catalyst; she was in touch with the students and the music. She invited Mark James, a local disc jockey known as D.J. Mark the 45 King, to appear at a school dance. The basement of James’ parent’s house in East Orange, which was equipped with electronic and recording equipment, became the hangout of Latifah and her friends. They began to call themselves Flavor Unit.

Breakthrough Album

James was beginning 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 captured the attention of Tommy Boy Music employee Dante Ross, who immediately signed Latifah, and in 1988 issued her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” The track met with a positive response and afforded her the opportunity to launch a European tour, and to perform at the Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater. The next year Latifah released her first album, All Hail to the Queen, which sold over one million copies.

Business Acumen

As she began to earn money, Latifah displayed an interest in investment, putting money into a delicatessen and a video store on the ground floor of the apartment in which she was living. She came to realize that she had a knack for business, and realized that there was an opening for her in record production. In 1991, she organized and became chief executive officer of Flavor Unit Records and Management Company headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey. By late 1993, the company had signed 17 rap groups, including the very successful Naughty by Nature. In 1993, Latifah recorded a jazz and reggae influenced album titled Black Reign. While the album sold over 500,000 copies, the single “U.N.I.T.Y.” earned Latifahh her first Grammy Award in 1995.

Acting Success

Shortly after, Latifah’s fame translated into film appearances, including roles in Juice, Spike Lee‘s Jungle Fever (both 1991),House Party II (1992), and Set It Off (1996), in which she starred as a lesbian bank robber. She also found success in television work, most notably starring on the Fox sitcom, Living Single.

In 1999, Latifah appeared with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie in The Bone Collector. Three years later, she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mama Morton in the blockbuster musical Chicago. She also received strong reviews for 2003’s romantic comedy Bringing Down the House opposite Steve Martin and 2006’s Last Holiday.

In 2007, Queen Latifah appeared as Motormouth Maybelle in a remake of the musical movie Hairspray with John Travolta. The year 2008 also found Queen Latifah busy with multiple projects, including Mad Money, What Happens In Vegas, and The Secret Life of Bees. Additionally, she lent her voice to the character Ellie in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009).

Queen Latifah is also a spokesperson for Covergirl cosmetics where she represents her own line, The Queen Collection.

Comments

  1. she is quite a lady!

  2. Love her!!!! Saw her this week in Joyful Noise, another good performance. Talented, funny and heart to match. Long live the queen.

  3. I really love Queen Latifah, she isn’t only an inspiration to women but also to musicians, that they can be so much more than just a pretty face, that they can be so much more than just a musician….Very nice post….Peace Jaz

  4. Love this one, thank you!

    Pink.

  5. sarahmarie says:

    I love Queen Latifah! Thanks for sharing! It was cool learning more about her life and nickname! I love her in Chicago & Hairspray…and Bringing Down the House is one of the funniest movies ever!!

  6. I LOVED her in “The Secret Life of Bees!” It happens to be one of my favorite novels about powerful women in a time and place where powerful women were not necessarily appreciated or valued. Her portrayal of August is simply amazing. And Queen Latifah is exquisitely multi-talented.

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