Queen Latifah

Born in Newark, New Jersey as Dana Elaine Owens, Queen Latifah earned her stage name from a cousin who nicknamed her “Latifah”, which translated to “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic. She is an award-winning singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, model, producer, and talk show host.  

Queen Latifah’s fame is equal for both her efforts in music and acting; while she received her first Grammy award in 1995, her first Oscar nomination shortly followed in 2002 for her performance in the film adaption of Broadway hit Chicago. 

She released her debut album in 1989 after signing with Tommy Boy Records, after a friend passed a demo copy of her rap “Princess of he Posse” to the host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fab 5 Freddy. Her debut album sold over a million copies, and her career had launched. Throughout her musical career, you can find Latifah’s vocal stylings in traditional singing as well as through her hip-hop and raps. 

While she was busy selling albums, Latifah debuted on the big screen in 1991 with Jungle Fever, directed by Spike Lee. From there, she continued to join all-star casts, playing roles in sitcom Living Single, movies Living Out Loud, The Bone Collecter, Chicago, Bringing Down the House, Hairspray, Steel Magnolias, and many more.

Queen Latifah’s Black Moments:

  • First female hip-hop artist nominated for an Oscar 
  • First hip-hop artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • “Queen of Jazz Rap” selling 2 million records worldwide 
  • Awarded a Grammy Award, Emmy Award and a Golden Globe 

RELATED BLACK MOMENT: Oprah Winfrey

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