Dana Elaine Owens
Born on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of a police officer and a schoolteacher, Latifah the moniker “Queen” came with the launch of her rap career was in high school when she won a talent show with a group called Ladies Fresh. In 1987 she gave her demo tape to DJ friend and by the following year had a record deal. The Tommy Boy label released her house, reggae and jazz-accented debut album, All Hail The Queen, in 1989. Called the “Aretha Franklin of rap”, Latifah’s star also rose in the acting world after her film debut in Spike Lee’s 1991 work Jungle Fever. A few small roles followed, and within two years she was cast in an ensemble sitcom, Living Single. She starred in Set it Off, which earned her a nomination for a Spirit Award in the Best Actress category and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed Living Out Loud. In 1999, she was seen in Universal’s The Bone Collector directed by Philip Noyce starring Denzel Washington. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax’s Chicago. Latifah became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2006. She continued releasing popular albums including Black Reign featuring the Grammy winning single Unity and the ever-evolving Latifah decided to reinvent herself, this time as a chat show host. The programme, The Queen Latifah Show, began its successful three-year run in 1999. And then there’s Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere. The company, based in New Jersey, is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing the box office hit Bringing Down the House and then continued with Beauty Shop for MGM. They are also co-producing the action-comedy Bad Girls at Paramount with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Overbrook. They have also produced The Cookout with Lion’s Gate. In addition to music, film and television, Queen Latifah has also written a book on self-esteem entitled Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman. Queen Latifah is diligent in her pursuit of excellence, as is evident by the awards she has received for her work in film and music. Her sincere concern for others is revealed by the generous amount of time and money that she donates to worthwhile charitable organizations. Every year, Queen Latifah serves as co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Established by her mother, Rita Owens, to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the foundations provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically, but are limited in financial resources.
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