Today is the Queen’s 43rd birthday. Queen Latifah may have managed to escape the Nefertiti hats and tribal prints from her rapper days in the 80s, but she’ll never again be just Dana Owens.
Queen Latifah has not always been a CoverGirl. Before Hairspray or a leading role in Just Wright she was rapping, “U-N-I-T-Y you got to let him know, you ain’t a bitch or a ho.” The Queen was uber socially conscious. Her hardcore female empowerment was complemented with African garb. The Newark NJ native debut All Hail The Queen (1989) took the “power to the people” route similar to that of a Public Enemy. Nostalgia for you.
Fast forward decades later and the Queen has evolved into a mainstream icon, one that had to strip away her militancy to build an empire that covers music, film and endorsements. From Black Reign to mainstream, we salute the Queen on her born day. Happy Birthday!