Dana Elaine Owens, better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, she signed with Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and released her debut album All Hail the Queen on November 28, 1989, featuring the hit single “Ladies First”. Nature of a Sista’ (1991) was her second and final album with Tommy Boy Records.
Latifah starred as Khadijah James on the FOX sitcom Living Single from 1993 to 1998. Her third album, Black Reign (1993), spawned the single “U.N.I.T.Y.”, which, being a large influence on women, won a Grammy Award and peaked at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100. She then starred in the lead role of Set It Off (1996) and released her fourth album, Order in the Court, on June 16, 1998, with Motown Records. Latifah garnered acclaim with her role of Matron “Mama” Morton in the musical film Chicago (2002), receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Latifah released her fifth album The Dana Owens Album in 2004. In 2007 and 2009, she released two more studio albums – Trav’lin’ Light and Persona. She created the daytime talk show The Queen Latifah Show, which ran from late 2013 to early 2015 on CBS. She has appeared in a number of films, such as Bringing Down the House (2003), Taxi (2004), Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2005), Beauty Shop (2005), Last Holiday (2006), Hairspray (2007), Joyful Noise (2012), 22 Jump Street (2014) and Girls Trip (2017). Latifah received critical acclaim for her portrayal of blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO film Bessie (2015), which she co-produced, winning the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie. From 2016 to 2019, she starred as Carlotta Brown in the musical drama series Star. In 2020, she portrayed Hattie McDaniel in the miniseries Hollywood.
She has been described as a “feminist” rapper. Latifah received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006. Latifah’s work in music, film and television has earned her a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, an Academy Award nomination and sales of over two million records.
While people have speculated on her sexuality for years, Latifah officially came out in June 2021 at the BET awards.