Sunday, February 16, 2014

Queen Latifah

Behind the moniker of hip-hop's first lady, Queen Latifah, 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 is of
both African American and Native American... and witnessed both sides
of Black urban life in the USA while growing up.

After a brief stint in a mediocre job, she soon found herself making
waves in the hip-hop music scene alongside 'Ladies Fresh'. At 18 she 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.

She was nicknamed 'Latifah' by a cousin while she was in her teens, which
is Arabic for delicate and sensitive, 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 has
also made tremendous inroads in movies, television, and artist management,
with her company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, alongside her business partner
Shakim Compere.

Miss Latifah is the first female rapper to be nominated for an Academy
Award. Became the first hip-hop artist honored with a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame on January 4th, 2006. Of all her roles to date, her personal
favorite is Cleopatra Sims from 'Set It Off' (1996). My favorites are...
'The Dilemma' (2011) w/Vince Vaughn & Kevin James + 'Just Wright' (2010)
w/Common + 'Living Out Loud' (1998) w/Holly Hunter & Danny DeVito.

* Movie Trivia: Queen was set to star in 'Monster's Ball' (2001) alongside
Robert De Niro with Sean Penn directing. Unfortunately, due to scheduling
conflict, because producers could not set up the film in time... it was
delayed and recast. Her role went to Halle Berry and DeNiro's to Billy
Bob Thornton.

* From Where I Sit!
February 15, 2014