Dana Elaine Owens, known professionally as Queen Latifah, is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and producer from New Jersey. Owens signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her debut album ‘All Hail the Queen’ the following year.
Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. She grew up largely in East Orange, New Jersey. Her parents parted when she was ten years old. Her stage name, Latifah, means “delicate” and “extremely kind” in Arabic.
At 5’10” Latifah was a power forward on her high school girls basketball team. After she graduated from Irvington High School, she studied classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College.
Latifah started beatboxing in the late ’80s and caught the notice of the host of “Yo! MTV Raps.”
The song drew the attention of Tommy Boy Music staffer Dante Ross, who signed Latifah and in 1988 issued her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” Latifah established her mark in hip-hop by talking about issues affecting black women.
Her songs explored subjects of domestic violence, harassment on the streets, and relationship troubles. She launched her first album “All Hail the Queen” in 1989. In 1992, she earned a Candace Award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
She released two more albums and then was signed by Motown Records for her fourth studio album, “Order in the Court.” After this album, Queen Latifah switched to soul and jazz music and in 2004 she released “The Dana Owens Album.”
In 2007, she was the featured performer in live jazz performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in which she was accompanied by a 10-piece orchestra. Her following album, “Trav’lin’ Light,” featured guest contributions from performers of diverse genres. The album was nominated for a Grammy.
Her last album, “Persona,” a return to hip-hop, was released in 2009 and hit #3 on the US R&B chart. Her singles “Unity” and “Bananas (Who You Gonna Call?)” both achieved #2 on the US Rap chart.
“Unity” went on to win a grammy. Queen Latifah has sold over 2 million records globally over her music career.
What’s About her Acting Career?
Throughout her extensive career, Queen Latifah has participated in various high-profile films and television shows. One of her earliest assignments was a guest-starring stint in two episodes of the second season of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” an NBC smash.
She starred in the FOX sitcom “Living Single” from 1993-to 1998, which received very high ratings. She was the host of the successful “Queen Latifah Show” from 1991-to 2001, then revived it for two seasons in 2013 and 2014.
Latifah achieved mainstream popularity after she was cast in the musical film “Chicago,” which won the Academy Award for best picture. Latifah was nominated for best-supporting actress for her portrayal but lost to co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Latifah is one of just five R&B performers to obtain an Oscar nomination in an acting category. She got her first Golden Globe in 2007 when she starred in the film “Life Support,” in which she portrayed an HIV-positive lady.
She has starred in various movies like “House Party 2,” “Set It Off,” “Brown Sugar,” “Bringing Down the House,” “Taxi,” “Barbershop 2: Back in Business,” “Beauty Shop,” “Hairspray,” “Valentine’s Day,” “Just Wright,” “The Dilemma,” “22 Jump Street,” “Girls Trip,” and more.
In 2017, she became an executive producer for the third season of MTV’s slasher TV series “Scream,” which began airing in 2019.
Queen Latifah’s work in music, film and television has garnered her a Golden Globe award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a Grammy Award, many additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination, and an Academy Award nomination.
Queen Latifah’s Net Worth
Queen Latifah is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, model, television producer, record producer, comedienne, and talk show hostess who has a net worth of $70 million as of 2022.
She has long been regarded as one of the hip-pioneering hop feminists. She has also enjoyed a highly-successful cinematic career.
Latifah’s older brother was killed in 1992 in a motorcycling accident. She has discussed how her brother’s death led to a brief period of depression and drug abuse. In 1995, she was a victim of carjacking.
Latifah was arrested and accused of possession of marijuana in 1996. She was again arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles and did three years of probation. In 2018, Queen Latifah confirmed the death of her mother due to a heart condition.
Queen Latifah’s sexuality has been the subject of rumors over the years, and she remains private about her love life. It is strongly rumored that she has been dating choreographer Eboni Nichols. In mid-1996, a feud between Queen Latifah and Foxy Brown began.
The media reported that Foxy Brown was a target in Latifah’s diss track, “Name Callin,” which was on the “Set It Off” movie soundtrack. Foxy Brown began to publicly question Latifah’s sexuality in various radio interviews and in 1998 Foxy Brown released a diss record over the matter.
Latifah responded by releasing another diss record, dissing Brown about her reliance on skimpy outfits and sexuality to sell records. In 2000, the two reconciled and performed a song together on “The Queen Latifah Show” to show a truce.
Outside of her entertaining profession, she is a spokesperson for CoverGirl, Pizza Hut, and Jenny Craig. She has her own line of cosmetics for ladies of color.
Queen Latifah also has her own perfume collection, featuring the scents Queen and Queen of Hearts. She has also written a book, “Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman.”