ARTIST PROFILE

Queen Latifah

Name: Queen Latifah

Birthday: March 18, 1970

Fav Dish: Blowfish, Fried Rabbit

Queen Latifah is a Grammy Award-winning rapper, record producer and actress, known for her roles in the big screen adaptation of ‘Chicago’ and the HBO film ‘Bessie.’

“I’m not allowed to get a big head, I’ve still got to do the simple things in life.”
—Queen Latifah

Synopsis

Famed musician and actress Queen Latifah was born on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. Her debut album All Hail to the Queen sold more than 1 million copies, and the single “U.N.I.T.Y.” earned Latifah her first Grammy Award. Latifah has also garnered acclaim for acting, earning her first Oscar nomination (best supporting actress) for her performance in the 2002 blockbuster musical Chicago.

Early Life

Rapper, record producer and actress Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. The second child of Lance and Rita Owens, Latifah is best known for her social politics, acting skills and gift for rhyme. When she was 8 years old, a Muslim cousin gave her the nickname Latifah, meaning “delicate and sensitive” in Arabic. Latifah began singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and had her first public performance when she sang a version of “Home” as one of the two Dorothys in a production of The Wizard of Oz at St. Anne’s parochial school.

In her first year of high school, Latifah began informal singing and rapping in the restrooms and locker rooms. In her junior year, she formed a rap group, Ladies Fresh, with her friends Tangy B and Landy D in response to the formation of another young women’s group. Soon the group was making appearances wherever they could. Latifah’s mother was a catalyst; she was in touch with the students and the music. She invited Mark James, a local disc jockey known as D.J. Mark the 45 King, to appear at a school dance. The basement of James’s parents’ house in East Orange, which was equipped with electronic and recording equipment, became the hangout of Latifah and her friends. They began to call themselves “Flavor Unit.”

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