Queen Latifah

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About Queen Latifah

Groundbreaking rapper and singer Queen Latifah was the first solo female hip-hop artist to score a gold album (1993’s Black Reign). She used her success in music as a launchpad for a fruitful acting career. • The New Jersey native grew up performing in talent shows and school plays. In high school, she formed the hip-hop crew Ladies Fresh, a showcase for her beatboxing skills. • After taking up rapping, Latifah became a member of the Jersey hip-hop collective Flavor Unit, and with some help from producer DJ Mark the 45 King, she earned a deal with Tommy Boy Records. • Her 1989 debut album, All Hail the Queen, includes the feminist anthem “Ladies First,” featuring fellow female rhymer Monie Love. • The rapper’s gold-selling 1993 album Black Reign includes the single “U.N.I.T.Y.,” which addresses sexism in hip-hop culture. The song earned Latifah a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance. • In the 2000s, Latifah shifted from rapping toward traditional singing, releasing an album of soul and jazz standards, The Dana Owens Album, in 2004. She returned to a mix of rapping and singing on her seventh studio album, Persona, in 2009. • As an actress, she starred in the Fox sitcom Living Single in the mid-’90s, scored an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the 2002 musical Chicago, and nabbed Emmy nominations for her roles in Life Support (2007) and Bessie (2016).

Newark, NJ, United States
March 18, 1970

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