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Queen Latifah Biography

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Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah
(Hip-Hop's First Lady)
Newark, New Jersey

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Queen Latifah Biography

Hip-hop's first lady (though some would attribute that to Roxanne Shanté), the woman behind the moniker is Dana Owens, who was born on March 18th, 1970, in East Orange, New Jersey. She came from a police family--both her father and older brother were cops, which would later influence her rhyming style and life philosophy. Owens witnessed both sides of Black urban life in the USA while growing up. After a brief stint as a Burger King employee, she soon found herself making waves in the hip-hop music scene.

After working as the human beat box alongside Ladies Fresh, she was just 18 years old when she originally broke through in the late 1980s with a style that picked selectively from jazz, reggae, and soul traditions, from beats produced by 'D.J. Mark the 45 King' . Her debut single, "Wrath of My Madness," was released in 1988. A year later, her debut long-player, "All Hail the Queen," enjoyed favored reviews: an old, wise head was evident on the top of her young shoulders. The former Burger King employee maintained her early commitment to answer the misogynist armory of some of her male counterparts and, at the same time, imparted musical good times to all genders. Her name means "delicate and sensitive" in Arabic, but she has often been anything but in her rhymes and the messages she sends out through them. One of the most prominent female hip-hop artists on the scene for over a decade, Queen Latifah has also made tremendous inroads in movies, television, and artist management, with her management company, Flavor Unit, alongside her business partner Shakim Compere. A role model who takes the responsibility to heart, Latifah carefully constructed a fine career for herself--one that is constantly moving upward.


Queen Latifah Trivia

Arrested for assaulting a photographer. [6 February 1996]

Arrested for carrying a loaded pistol & marijuana. [3 February 1996]

Carjacked and a friend was shot. [July 1995]

Older brother Lance Owens, who was a police officer, died in an accident on the motorcycle Latifah bought for him as a present. She still wears the motorcycle key around her neck.

Co-CEO of Flavor Unit Entertainment

Had to coach her Bringing Down the House (2003) co-stars Steve Martin and Eugene Levy in hip-hop slang.

First female rapper to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Ranked #72 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll

Was set to star in Monster's Ball (2001) with Robert De Niro and Sean Penn. Unfortunately, producers could not set up the film in time and it was delayed and recast. Her role went to Halle Berry, DeNiro's to Billy Bob Thornton, and Penn's to Heath Ledger.

Played power forward on the Irvington Public High School girls' basketball team and led them to two New Jersey state championships.

Was listed as a potential nominee on the 2005 Razzie Award nominating ballot. She was listed as a suggestion in the Worst Actress category for her performances in the films Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004), The Cookout (2004), and Taxi (2004/I), however, she failed to receive a nomination.

She won a Grammy in 1994 for Best Solo Rap Performance for "U.N.I.T.Y."

She was nicknamed "Latifah" (Arabic for delicate and sensitive) by a cousin while she was in her teens.

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame [January 4, 2006].

DJ Tocadisco's song "Nobody (Likes The Records That I Play)" is based on a sample from the film Juice (1992) spoken by Queen Latifah.

With Last Holiday (2006), she becomes the first woman to share a role with Sir Alec Guinness.

Became the first hip-hop artist honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. [4 January 2006]




 
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