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HomeEntertainmentInside Queen Latifah's Successful Crossover From a Rap Star to Hollywood Icon

Inside Queen Latifah’s Successful Crossover From a Rap Star to Hollywood Icon

Queen Latifah’s career as multi-hyphenate cuts across her excellence in Hip Hop and the Hollywood sphere. 

At a time when male rappers were the blueprint in America’s hip hop scene, Queen Latifah was a cultural reset, letting them know women were much more. If feminist rap ever became an official genre, Queen Latifah would pass for one of the pioneers.

This same tenacity and raw talent transcended her Hollywood crossover in the 90s, sealing her status as an iconic entertainer. Here’s a look through Queen Latifah’s success story and global recognition.

Who Is Queen Latifah?

Many stars have been known to switch up their moniker once they entered into entertainment, and Queen Latifah was no different. Born Dana Elaine Owens in Newark, New Jersey, a young Queen Latifah fancied the name Latifah and decided to make it her nickname.

Queen Latifah came across the Arabic moniker in a movie and loved it for its meaning which translates to sensitive, soft or nice. This was her way of tapping into women’s duality; they can be strong and delicate all at the same time.

While millions around the world fell in love with the superstar for her name and what she stood for in entertainment, her mother, Rita Owens, thought it was a strange choice.

Queen Latifah once hilariously recalled Rita telling her, “Queen? I ain’t calling you Queen.'” However, the name would go on to be the moniker for her daughter’s distinctive brand and also make her a proud mom. 

Queen Latifah’s Career Timeline

The teenage Queen Latifah had a brief stint as a Burger King employee and launched her Hip Hop career by becoming a beatboxer. Queen Latifah was a human beatboxer for a few years until she landed her first major music deal.

She was 18 years old when her signature sound started growing on her American listeners. Queen Latifah made her music a fusion of jazz, reggae, and soul, with beats produced by D.J Mark the 45 king. 

Queen Latifah’s debut single “Wrath of My Madness” hit the airwaves in 1988, and it was followed by her classic rap album, “All Hail The Queen.” She enjoyed global acceptance for her music that was understood during its time and ahead of its time. 

The “U.N.I.T.Y” crooner challenged the music scene, especially the misogynistic approach many male rappers adopted in their music style. Nicknamed the first lady of Hip Hop, Queen Latifah questioned the status quo and told the story of the black woman’s excellence. 

Inside Her Achievements 

Her first album sold over 1 million copies, and five years later, she won a Grammy Award for best rap solo performance for “U.N.I.T.Y.” The Queen also became the first rapper to perform at the Super Bowl. 

The rap icon released six more music projects and stayed winning. Then, in 1990, she extended her resume to include acting. Queen Latifah appeared in her first movie, Jungle Fever,” in 1991. 

Queen Latifah’s acting credits include “Living Single,” “Set It Off,” “360, “Miracles From Heaven, “Barbershop 2: Back In Business,” “The Perfect Holiday,” and “Girls’ Trip.” 

The 51-year-old has had a career span of three decades and counting, and she is not slowing down anytime soon. During the course of over three decades, she had several firsts.

Queen Latifah is the first female hip-hop recording artist to bag an Oscar nomination. In addition, in 2006, she became the first hip-hop artist to receive a star on ten Hollywood Walk of fame. 

What Has The Queen Been Up To In Recent Times?

In 2021, she was honored with the BET lifetime Achievements Award for a rap career that gave women’s rap credence. Queen Latifah’s honor was an embodiment of the award show’s theme, “Year of the Black Woman.”

She was honored by some of her longtime pals in the industry like Jada Pinkett Smith and Mary J Blige, who made videos congratulating her on her achievements. 

The Tv star was also treated to two beautiful renditions of two of her greatest hits, “U.N.I.T.Y” and “Ladies First” by hip-hop greats, Rhapsody, Lil Kim, MC Lyte, and Monie Love. Queen Latifah stated in her acceptance speech:

“Black is beautiful. I was raised by strong Black women. We can’t live without each other. Celebrate. Celebrate us so together we stand stronger.”

The star continues to wax stronger in black excellence and keeps up her status in Hollywood. Presently Queen Latifah continues to film as a cast member on “The Equalizer.”

Does Queen Latifah have kids? Queen Latifah and her partner Eboni Nichols are private people, and they run their family of three in that semblance. The two have a son, who they welcomed in 2019. 

Ashabi
Ashabi
Ashabi is a writer who enjoys reading and putting her dynamic thoughts on people, places, and concepts into writing. Her range of writing interests includes literary works, creative writing reviews, lifestyle, celebrity catchups, health, travel, world news, and Poetry. Ashabi is a graduate of Linguistics, and she has an avid interest in entertainment, languages, and global history.
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