Queen Latifah: "Bona Fide Star"

I've been working in this blog post for over a week now... Whether it be writers block, distractions, or even just procrastination, I've been having to hardest time sitting down and getting it done. I think I've finally finished though and I'm ready to post it, so here it goes:

As The Evolution of the Revolution
blogging process has continued, so did my quest to find a few female hip hop artists who dominated the hip hop world as they topped the charts. The first women who I found very interested who made an impact was Queen Latifah. This easy, breezy, beautiful CoverGirl has also played the roles of a television and film actress; a label president; an author and entrepreneur; and most importantly a musician. Through her lyrics she has reached out to many groups, especially women, in motivational and inspiring ways. But who really is Queen Latifah?

Born Dana Elaine Owens, Queen Latifah was born March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. Her mother who worked as a school teacher and her father who was a police officer divorced when she was only 10 years old. He stage name "Latifah" was given to her by her cousin when she was eight. In Arabic it means, "delicate" and "gentle", but she was far from either of these things as a substantially sized woman reaching a height of 5'10'' in high school. But how did her music career begin?

Latifah started as a beat boxer for a rap group named "Ladies Fresh." She also involved herself as one of the members of original version of the Flavor Unit, which, at that time, was a crew of MC's grouped around producer and mix master, DJ Mark the 45 King. DJ Mark discovered Latifah through her single "Princess of the Posse" and handed it off to Fab Five Freddy, the host of Yo! MTV Raps. Freddy opened many doors for Queen Latifah and even helped her sign her first record deal with Tommy Boy Records, with which she released her first record All Hail the Queen in 1989 when she was only 19 years old.

From there she only grew more and more popular, being featured on many other tracks and continuing with her own composing and recording. For a brief period( about 2004- 2007), Queen Latifah decided to switch it up and record some soul and jazz music, but not for long. She soon returned to the world of hip- hop where she remains as a composer and recording artist. Latifah's latest album Persona was released on September 12, 2008. It included "Cue the Rain" as a lead single, and also included a song with popular artist Missy Elliot.

Queen Latifah has been honored with many awards including the Black Film Award for Best Actress, the BET Award for Favorite Actress, a BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office Movie, a Black Reel Awards for Best Actress and Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress, a Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television, a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Lead - Drama Series or Special, Hollywood Film Awards for Ensemble of the Year and Ensemble Acting of the Year, Image Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, a Blimp Award for Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie, the Palm Springs International Film Festival Ensemble Cast Award for Hairspray, Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries and Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture, and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress - Comedy. NOT TO MENTION: the other 34 awards she was nominated for!

Not only is she accomplished in her award achieving but she has also completed the task of sending a message to her audience. She has conveyed messages that include (but not limited to) sexism and violence against women, especially through her music. She has made herself a symbol for women everywhere not only by getting these messages across, but also by rising above and becoming the star she always wanted to be. In an industry where women were thought of primarily as accessories, she broke the mold and created poetic music that will be remember and analyzed and seen as true and beautiful forever.

If you have some extra time, I HIGHLY suggest listening to the following:
One of Latifah's singles, "U.N.I.T.Y.," and reading through the lyrics. Its a personal favorite and has a very moving message about sexism and violence against women.
Another you may like is "Ladies First," (suggested by the Sassy Librarian herself, Mrs. Lewis) and reading the lyrics. Queen Latifah and Monie Love send a message of empowerment to women while incorporating a fresh beat.

Hope you enjoyed this post... Another should be coming soon on the ever fabulous Salt-n-Pepa!!!

Sources :

"Queen Latifah Bio." Queen Latifah. Web. 24 Feb 2010. .

"Queen Latifah Biography." Star Pulse 7 Jan 2010: n. pag. Web. 24 Feb 2010. .

"Queen Latifah." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2010. Web. 24 Feb. 2010 .

"Queen Latifah." Internet Movie DataBase. 2010. Web.


Mr. Collier said...

This is a very thorough and well-researched article on Latifah. Many people only know her for her acting and miss out on her early career, so it's good that you've included the whole range here.

kahlid said...

This is really good post on Latifah. I like that you started talking about her early life. Also, you wrote about her awards which shows that she is a great person.

Post a Comment