Queen Latifah Biography

(Best Known as 'Queen of Rap')

Birthday: March 18, 1970 (Pisces)

Born In: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Queen Latifah, born as Dana Elaine Owens, is an African-American award winning rapper, singer, music producer, entrepreneur and actress. She is one of first female rap artists who caught music industry’s attention. She was the first female rapper to be nominated for the academy awards. She made her mark in hip-hop genre by rapping about issues of black women. Her songs covered topics including domestic violence, harassment on the streets, and relationship problems. Her friendliness, honesty, empowering lyrics and dedication to both her art and her audience, have contributed to making her one of the most well-known and respected female rappers. She has come from a humble background and has built her empire from scratch entirely on her own talent. In spite of being a big star she has not lost her roots to the ground. Her strongly voiced personal beliefs in social responsibility, her feminist views and her stance on non-violence, have made her into a role model, particularly in redefining how women in the world of hip-hop are viewed.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Dana Elaine Owens

Age: 54 Years, 54 Year Old Females


father: Lancelot Owens

mother: Rita (née Bray)

siblings: Lancelot Jr.

Born Country: United States

African American Singers Rappers

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Females

Notable Alumni: Borough Of Manhattan Community College

U.S. State: New Jersey

City: Newark, New Jersey

More Facts

education: Borough Of Manhattan Community College

  • 1

    What are some popular movies starring Queen Latifah?

    Some popular movies starring Queen Latifah include "Chicago," "Bringing Down the House," "Beauty Shop," "Last Holiday," and "Girls Trip."
  • 2

    In which TV series did Queen Latifah star as the lead character?

    Queen Latifah starred as the lead character in the TV series "Living Single," where she played the character Khadijah James.
  • 3

    What genre of music is Queen Latifah known for?

    Queen Latifah is known for her contributions to hip hop and is recognized as a pioneering female rapper in the industry.
  • 4

    Has Queen Latifah appeared in any Broadway productions?

    Yes, Queen Latifah has appeared in Broadway productions, including the musical "Chicago," where she played the role of Matron Mama Morton.
  • 5

    What philanthropic efforts is Queen Latifah involved in?

    Queen Latifah is involved in various philanthropic efforts, including her work with the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships for low-income students in the performing arts.
Childhood & Early Life
Queen Latifah was born on 18th March 1970 in Newark, New Jersey, to Lance and Rita Owens. Her father was in police services. Her parents got divorced when she was eight. She was raised by her mother in Baptist faith. Her mother played a catalyst role in her music career.
She had an older brother, Lance Owens, who also worked in police service. He died in a motorbike accident in 1992. This motorbike was presented to him by Latifah.
She attended Catholic School in Newark, New Jersey. During her high school days she was part of girls’ basketball team.
She began rapping during high school. She formed her first rap group ‘Ladies Fresh’ when she was in junior year. She met local DJ Mark James. He formed a group named ‘Flavor Unit’ of which Latifah was the original member.
James made a demo record of Latifah's rap ‘Princess of the Posse’. This recording caught attention of ‘Tommy Boy Music’ who immediately signed Latifah.
In 1988, this music company offered her first single, ‘Wrath of My Madness’. The song got a positive response and she got an opportunity of a European tour and to perform at the ‘Apollo Theater’.
Iin 1989, when she was just 19 years old, Latifah released her first album, ‘All Hail to the Queen’, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies. That year she appeared as referee for UK label Music of Life album ‘1989—The Hustlers Convention’.
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Queen invested her money in a small video store on the ground floor of her apartment. She elevated this business to turn it into a record production company. In 1991, when she was just 21 years old, she rolled out ‘Flavor Unit Records and Management Company’ in New Jersey in partnership with her old friend Shakim Compere. She became the CEO of this company.
In the same year, she also tried her hands at acting. She debuted in inter-racial romance drama ‘Jungle Fever’.
In 1992, she appeared in crime thriller ‘Juice’. Soon she grabbed a leading role in a sitcom ‘Living Single’. This comedy show was a ground breaking one.
By late 1993, her record company signed 17 rap groups. One of these groups, ‘Naughty by nature’, was very successful. In the same year, this company released, album ‘Black Reign’. This album was a big hit.
Next year she portrayed a lesbian bank robber in the movie ‘Set it Off’. She costarred with Jada Smith and Vivica Fox.
Two year later in 1998, she worked in the comedy movie ‘Living Out Loud’. This year she, along with Ro Smith, co-produced and released her fourth hip-hop album ‘Order in the Court’.
In 1999, along with Angelina Jolie she appeared in ‘The Bone Collector’.
Her musical film ‘Chicago’, which was released in 2002, was a huge hit.
Her romantic comedy show ‘Bringing Down the House’ released in 2003, was a box office success. She also recorded ‘Do Your Thing’ for its soundtrack. Thereafter, she played both leading and supporting roles in many films which received varied critical and box office success, including films such as ‘Scary Movie 3’, ‘Barbershop 2: Back in Business’ and ‘Kung Faux’.
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Her film ‘Taxi’, which was released in 2004, was not very well received. On the music front, after her last album ‘Order in the Court’, she shifted her focus primarily to singing soul music and jazz standards. In 2004, she released the soul/jazz standards ‘The Dana Owens Album’.
After two years of lull, the period 2005-06 proved fruitful for her. Her performance in 2005 released ‘Beauty Shop’ was appreciated. Even her voiceover work in the hit animated movie ‘Ice Age: The Meltdown’ which was released in 2006, was much appreciated. She also appeared in romantic comedy ‘Last Holiday’. Her performance in the film was much appreciated.
In 2007, she again delighted the fans with her musical talent. She appeared in ‘Hairspray’ with John Travolta. She opened the famed Hollywood Bowl in LA with a live jazz concert. She performed new arrangements of standards including classic ‘California Dreaming’. Later she released her album ‘Travelling Light’. This album was nominated for Grammy awards in ‘Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album’ category. She also portrayed an HIV-positive woman in ‘Life Support’.
In the same year, she diversified her career with venturing into production with the film ‘The Perfect Holiday’. She also acted in this movie.
Her crime thriller ‘Mad Money’ released in 2008 did not receive great response. Returning to drama, she gave a strong performance in ‘The Secret Life of Bees’ in the same year.
In 2009, she along with the NJPAC Jubilation Choir, recorded the title track on the album ‘Oh, Happy Day: An All-Star Music Celebration’, covering the song that was popular in 1969. In the same year, she also released an album ‘Persona’.
Year 2011 saw her singing ‘Who Can I Turn To’ in a duet with Tony Bennett for his album ‘Duets II’.
For three years, from 1999 to 2001, she hosted a daytime talk show ‘The Queen Latifah Show’. Another version of her show was aired in 2013. She has also hosted many award ceremonies.
In 2015, she gave a powerful performance in ‘Bessie’. She portrayed legendary singer Bessie Smith in this HBO film. Latifah received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for this role.
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She serves as a spokesperson for ‘Cover Girl’ cosmetics. She even has her own line with the company ‘The Queen Collection’.
Major Works
In 1993, shortly after her brother’s death, she released the album ‘Black Reign’. This album was jazz / reggae influenced. The single ‘U.N.I.T.Y’ was a huge hit. The song was about her story of reigning over tough times in personal life and about black people reigning over their oppressors. This song established her as one the best female rappers in the world and also fetched her, her first Grammy award.
Latifah's most acclaimed film role to date came in the 2002 hit musical ‘Chicago’, starring Richard Gere, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. This movie received Academy Award in ‘Best Picture’ category. Her portrayal of prison matron Mama Morton gave her a chance to show off both her singing talents and acting skills. For her work in the film, Latifah earned an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. Though she lost the award to her co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones, her role was critically acclaimed.
Awards & Achievements
She won prestigious Grammy Award for the first time in 1995 for her single ‘U.N.I.T.Y’. She also won ‘Sammy Davis Jr. Award’ for ‘Entertainer of the Year’.
For the role in ‘Life Support’ movie she got her first Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy Nomination.
In June 2011, she received an honorary doctorate degree in ‘Humane Letters’ from ‘Delaware State University’ in Dover, Delaware.
Personal Life & Legacy
She was nicknamed ‘Latifah’, an Arabic word for ‘delicate and sensitive’ by her cousin.
She owns houses in Colts Neck, Rumson, New Jersey and Beverly Hills, California.
Facts About Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah is not only a talented actress and musician, but she also holds a pilot's license and is a skilled pilot who enjoys flying her own plane.
In addition to her successful entertainment career, Queen Latifah is a passionate advocate for women's health issues and has been involved in various campaigns promoting awareness and education.
Queen Latifah is known for her philanthropic efforts, including her work with organizations that support youth education and empowerment, as well as programs that provide resources for underprivileged communities.
Despite her busy schedule, Queen Latifah has a love for cooking and has even released a cookbook featuring her favorite recipes and culinary tips.
Queen Latifah is a proud New Jersey native and often uses her platform to shine a light on local businesses and artists from her hometown.

Queen Latifah Movies

1. The Secret Life of Bees (2008)


2. Last Holiday (2006)


3. Set It Off (1996)

  (Crime, Drama, Thriller, Romance, Action)

4. Girls Trip (2017)


5. Chicago (2002)

  (Crime, Musical, Comedy)

6. Miracles from Heaven (2016)

  (Biography, Family, Drama)

7. Stranger Than Fiction (2006)

  (Fantasy, Romance, Drama, Comedy)

8. 22 Jump Street (2014)

  (Action, Comedy, Crime)

9. Hairspray (2007)

  (Family, Drama, Music, Romance, Comedy, Musical)

10. Juice (1992)

  (Drama, Crime, Thriller, Action)


Golden Globe Awards
2008 Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Life Support (2007)
Primetime Emmy Awards
2015 Outstanding Television Movie Bessie (2015)
People's Choice Awards
2014 Favorite New Talk Show Host Winner
Grammy Awards
2019 Best Rap Solo Performance Winner
2008 Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) Winner
1995 Best Rap Solo Performance Winner
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See the events in life of Queen Latifah in Chronological Order

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