Queen Latifah: musician; television and film actress; a label president; an author and entrepreneur
Queen Latifah: musician; television and film actress; a label president; an author and entrepreneur. Blessed with style and substance, Queen Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. Heralded by the press and the industry as a force to be reckoned with, Latifah has quite simply done it all and shows no sign of slowing down.
Latifah has had amazing success in Hollywood in recent years, and became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2006. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax’s Chicago. Following Chicago, Latifah starred in Disney’s box office hit Bringing Down the House , on which she also acted as executive producer.
Her latest film, Life Support, in which she was both the star and executive producer, is a true-life drama, in which she plays a mother who overcomes an addiction to crack and becomes a positive role model and an AIDS activist in the black community. This recently aired on HBO on March 10th and Latifah received rave reviews for this project. In July she will star in Neil Meron and Craig Zadan’s Hairspray playing Motormouth Maybelle.
Latifah was seen in Wayne Wang’s The Last Holiday, and starred in MGM’s Beauty Shop (a spin-off of the hit Barbershop), which she also produced. She also appeared in Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction, playing opposite Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman and was the voice of the Wooly Mammoth in Ice Age 2.
To most people releasing multiple movies would be enough, but Queen Latifah wasn’t satisfied. On September 25th, 2007 Latifah will be releasing her new album titled Trav’lin Light. Co-produced by three time Grammy winner, Tommy LiPuma, this album is the long awaited follow up to Latifah’s highly received and Grammy nominated The Dana Owens Album. The platinum-selling album was a collection of timeless classics chosen and covered by the Queen herself. As Latifah demonstrated both in Living Out Loud (1998) and her Oscar-nominated performance in Chicago (2002), her vocal talent is as impressive as her acting.
Queen Latifah is also one of music’s most well respected rappers. From her ground breaking 1989 debut All Hail the Queen, which set the visual and contextual standard for female rappers, to her bold foray into R&B, Latifah continues to define what a woman in the music industry should be. She has earned four Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994. Latifah toured the U.S. as part of The Sugar Water Festival with fellow soul sisters, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
And then there’s Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere. The company, based in New Jersey, is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing the box office hit Bringing Down the House and then continued with Beauty Shop for MGM. They are also co-producing the action-comedy Bad Girls at Paramount with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Overbrook. They have also produced The Cookout with Lion’s Gate.
Latifah is also not a stranger to the small screen. Her first television series, Living Single, was a huge success and is currently in syndication. From the small screen, Latifah made a leap to film and her acting skills have earned her the status of leading lady.
Since her screen debut in Spike Lee’s 1991 film Jungle Fever, her film career has taken off. She starred in Set it Off, which earned her a nomination for a Spirit Award in the Best Actress category and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed Living Out Loud. In 1999, she was seen in Universal’s The Bone Collector directed by Philip Noyce starring Denzel Washington. Next up she begins filming Mad Money which she will star alongside Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes.
In addition to music, film and television, Queen Latifah has also written a book on self-esteem entitled Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman.
Queen Latifah is diligent in her pursuit of excellence, as is evident by the awards she has received for her work in film and music. Her sincere concern for others is revealed by the generous amount of time and money that she donates to worthwhile charitable organizations. Every year, Queen Latifah serves as co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Established by her mother, Rita Owens, to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the foundations provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically, but are limited in financial resources.