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Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah

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Also Known As: Dana Owens, Dana Elaine Owens Died:
Born: March 18, 1970 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, USA Profession: rapper, actor, executive, entrepreneur, fast food worker, cashier, salesperson

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Award-winning actress, rapper, entrepreneur and spokesmodel were but a few of the hats Queen Latifah wore as she began her rise as one of entertainment's top renaissance women, starting with her breakout album All Hail the Queen in 1989. The 19-year-old embodied a new spirit in hip-hop and was a pioneer for her empowering messages of positivity, particularly for urban women. Her status as pop culture icon led easily to an acting career, where she followed up a four-year run on the Fox sitcom "Living Single" (Fox, 1993-97) with increasingly visible roles in comedies and dramas, including "Set it Off" (1996) and "The Bone Collector" (1999). She broke through with unanimous critical acclaim for her role as Mama Morton in the lavish big screen adaptation of "Chicago" (2002), earning multiple awards for her powerhouse performance. Audiences loved Latifah in the urban comedies "Bringin' Down the House" (2003) and "Beauty Shop" (2005) even if critics did not, but Latifah was continually surprising audiences with her artistic development. Evolving from rapper MC to sweet jazz crooner, she also delivered terrific performances in subtler films like "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006) and "Last Holiday" (2007) and...

Award-winning actress, rapper, entrepreneur and spokesmodel were but a few of the hats Queen Latifah wore as she began her rise as one of entertainment's top renaissance women, starting with her breakout album All Hail the Queen in 1989. The 19-year-old embodied a new spirit in hip-hop and was a pioneer for her empowering messages of positivity, particularly for urban women. Her status as pop culture icon led easily to an acting career, where she followed up a four-year run on the Fox sitcom "Living Single" (Fox, 1993-97) with increasingly visible roles in comedies and dramas, including "Set it Off" (1996) and "The Bone Collector" (1999). She broke through with unanimous critical acclaim for her role as Mama Morton in the lavish big screen adaptation of "Chicago" (2002), earning multiple awards for her powerhouse performance. Audiences loved Latifah in the urban comedies "Bringin' Down the House" (2003) and "Beauty Shop" (2005) even if critics did not, but Latifah was continually surprising audiences with her artistic development. Evolving from rapper MC to sweet jazz crooner, she also delivered terrific performances in subtler films like "Stranger Than Fiction" (2006) and "Last Holiday" (2007) and brought all her talents together for a knock-out performance as Motormouth Maybelle in the big screen musical, "Hairspray" (2007). Consistently demonstrated through her talent, strength and positivity, Queen Latifah entertained and inspired not merely African-Americans or women, but people from all walks of life.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 House of Bodies (2014)
4.
 Joyful Noise (2012)
5.
 Steel Magnolias (2012)
6.
 Dilemma, The (2011)
7.
 Just Wright (2010)
8.
 Valentine's Day (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in East Orange, New Jersey
:
Trained in karate and use of firearms by her policeman father
:
Was a power forward on two state championship basketball teams in high school
:
Worked at a Burger King fast-food restaurant
:
Worked as a cashier at The Wiz in Newark, NJ
:
Formed rhyming group Ladies Fresh with two high school friends; won high school talent contest
1987:
Had her demo tapes placed in circulation by a deejay friend
:
Discovered by MTV host Fab 5 Freddy
1989:
Released her debut album <i>All Hail the Queen</i>
1990:
TV debut, "Time Warner Presents the Earth Day Special" (ABC)
1991:
First series guest spot, "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (NBC)
1991:
Feature acting debut, Spike Lee's "Jungle Fever"
1991:
First major supporting role, "House Party 2"
1993:
First substantial feature dramatic role, "My Life"
1993:
Cast as a regular on the Fox ensemble sitcom "Living Single"; also wrote and performed the theme song
1995:
On July 16, the car in which she was a passenger was car-jacked in NYC; bodyguard was shot
1997:
Profiled on "Intimate Portrait" (Lifetime)
1998:
Co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the romantic comedy "Living Out Loud"
2000:
Hosted the syndicated talk show "Queen Latifah"
2001:
Landed recurring role as a psychic on the ABC sitcom "Spin City"
2002:
Appeared in the CBS miniseries "Living With the Dead" about real-life psychic detective James Van Praagh
2002:
Cast in a supporting role in "Brown Sugar" opposite Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan
2002:
Earned critical raves for her portrayal of Matron Mama Morton in the musical feature adaptation of "Chicago"; earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations
2003:
Co-starred with Steve Martin in the comedy "Bringing Down the House"
2003:
Partnered with Curvations, a lingerie line that applauded women with curves and confidence; also appeared as the face and body behind the new line of intimate apparel
2003:
Received Grammy nomination for Best Female Rap Solo Performance for the song "Go Head"
2004:
Starred as a beauty salon owner in "Barbershop 2: Back in Business"
2004:
Made screenwritting debut with the comedy "The Cookout"; also produced
2004:
Received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album for <i>The Dana Owens Album</i>
2005:
Starred in "Beauty Shop," a spin-off of the successful "Barbershop" films
2006:
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (January)
2006:
Co-starred as Emma Thompson's stern assisstant in the Marc Forster comedy "Stranger Than Fiction"
2007:
Portrayed (also produced) an HIV-positive woman in the HBO movie "Life Support"; earned an Emmy nomination for Best Actress
2007:
Cast as Motormouth Maybelle in the big screen version of the Tony-winning Broadway musical "Hairspray"
2008:
Co-starred with Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes in "Mad Money"
2008:
Co-starred with Dakota Fanning in the feature adaption of "The Secret Life of Bees"
2009:
Played the wife of a woolly mammoth (voiced by Ray Romano) in the animated film "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
2010:
Joined an ensemble cast for the Garry Marshall directed ensemble feature "Valentine's Day"
2010:
Co-starred with Common in the romantic comedy "Just Wright"
2011:
Played a supporting role in "The Dilemma," directed by Ron Howard
2012:
Co-starred with Dolly Parton as choir singers in the musical comedy "Joyful Noise"
2012:
Reprised voice role of Ellie, a female woolly mammoth in "Ice Age: Continental Drift"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Manhattan Community College: New York , New York -
Frank H Morrell High School: Irvington , New Jersey - 1987

Notes

In addition to her acting roles, Queen Latifah's music has been heard in the films "New Jack City" and "Straight Out of Brooklyn" (both 1991), "White Men Can't Jump" and "Class Act" (both 1992), and "The Associate" (1996).

"A lot of the roles I've been given have been me cursing somebody out, but that's not how I am. I don't just yell at people for no reason. And I WON'T be stereotyped."---Queen Latifah in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, September 17, 1993.

"Part of the credit for Latifah's speedy rise in the music industry involves her membership in a loose collective of rappers known as the Native Tongues Posse. As constituents of the Native Tongues, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, the Jungle Brothers and Monie Love emphasized Afrocentric clothing, a playful, abstract, lyrical style of rapping and vague, idealistic spirituality."---NEW YORK NEWSDAY, February 20, 1994.

"This film business is a challenge to me. I want to be De Niro. I want to be Pacino and Foster and Hanks, but black. And I've got to put in work to do that ... There's always gonna be another wall to climb over, kick down, bust through or blow away. As long as life keeps going there and changing, I'll never give it less than 100 percent."---Queen Latifah in LOS ANGELES TIMES, November 4, 1996.

"I'm not into all that Hollywood bullshit. I don't need to have the fastest car. I don't need to have the fifty thousand diamonds on my hand. Give me a bank account, gimme real estate, gimme companies, gimme shit that's gonna continue on past your broken-down Benz that you can't afford to keep. I love some of those things, but I'm not gonna be the one wearing what everybody else is wearing... I refuse to be like everybody else. I'm different. I'm the Queen, you know? That's what set me up from the beginning. I didn't want to wear gold chains and call myself MC Latifah. I threw a crown on. I took my little promo money and bought me a couple of outfits and had an African suit made with a crown and people noticed me because I wasn't looking like everybody else."---Queen Latifah quoted in INTERVIEW, November 1996.

"My mom and God are my influences. God keeps me on track because he knows I'm human and that I'll make mistakes. I want to get into heaven, so you'll never find me sinning too much. But in life I try to be brave and take charge."---Queen Latifah to Jeanne Wolf in "Queen Latifah's Latest Crown", THE BIZ, October 1996.

"I'm married to myself. I just felt it was time to take care of me, pamper myself. And when I meet the right man who can treat me as well as I treat myself, I will take this ring off and replace it with his."---Queen Latifah commenting on the platinum band on her left hand, as quoted in DAILY NEWS, November 3, 1996.

As of January 1994, Latifah is chief executive officer of Flavor Unit, a management and production company whose clients include Naughty by Nature, Fu-Schnickens, Apache and Nikki D. The firm is run by Latifah's mother and has 10 full-time employees.

"I believe that you've got to have fun doing what you're doing. When it's not fun, it starts to feel like work and I don't like working, I never really have. [laughs] As long as I can have fun, I'm happy."---Queen Latifah quoted to Venue, February 2003.

"My mama always said that I would marry an older man because that's who can handle me."---Queen Latifah quoted to Ebony, April 2003.

"I know who I am. I'm a young African-American woman. And that has a meaning. I do have responsibility to my people. And I do have a responsibility as a woman. But what that is is up to me, not anybody else. I don't put people in a box, and I never wanted to be put in one myself."---Queen Latifah to Premiere, October 2004.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lancelot H Owens. Former policeman. Separated from Rita Owens when Latifah was nine years old; trained Latifah and brother Lance in karate and use of guns.
mother:
Rita Owens. High school art teacher, executive. Born in 1949; once ran a jazz and poetry club in Newark, New Jersey; senior vice president of Flavor Unit, Latifah's recording label, talent management and video production company, based in Jersey City, New Jersey.
brother:
Lancelot H Owens Jr. Policeman. Born c. 1969; killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident 1992; "Winky's Theme" was dedicated to him on Latifah's album "Black Reign".

Bibliography close complete biography

"Ladies First: Revelations From a Strong Woman" William Morrow

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