8 Things Millennials Don’t Understand About Queen Latifah

By Frank Donovan 

To celebrate the week of Queen Latifah’s 45th birthday, we’re serving up 8 things that today’s younger generation simply must realize about the great QL. Today she’s one of those figures you take for granted. You see and hear her everywhere–officiating a mass wedding at the Grammys, looking glam in Cover Girl ads, voicing Ellie in the Ice Age movies–she’s an omnipresent media icon.

But Dana Owens started as the beat-boxing daughter of a policeman and an art teacher in New Jersey. She broke out on the scene at just 19 years old and immediately made a name for herself as one of the most successful and respected female MCs in hip hop in the late 1980s. She didn’t stop there though. In a rare career arc, Latifah has conquered almost every facet of entertainment and business–from rap to jazz, comedy to drama, managing to producing. She is a force.

Read on for more essential knowledge about the venerable Queen Latifah.


1. She was once the queen of hip hop.  
Before Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliot, and Nicki Minaj there was Queen Latifah. One of the founding females of hip hop, Queen Latifah came up in the early days of the genre in the 1980s and rose to royal status at just 19 years old when her debut All Hail the Queen dropped in 1989. She was at the top of the game in the early 90s. In 1993 her third album Black Reign became the first album by female rapper to go gold. Though she hasn’t been rhyming for some time now, her career has never stopped moving onward and upward to new territories.

2. She is seriously multi-talented.

Queen Latifah is one of those people who can casually pick up a hobby and accidentally become the best at it. She has certifiably conquered music, film, and TV with Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award nominations (and some wins) to prove it. After making a splash in the hip hop scene, Latifah made her acting debut in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and went on to do several more films and TV shows, including a starring role in Living Single. She’s continued recording, but has moved on to jazz instead of hip hop. What can she not do?? It was no surprise to anyone when she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006.

3. She has major acting chops.

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