ALL HAIL THE QUEEN!
In the latest issue of Variety, the multi-faceted, multi-talented, 45-year-old Queen Latifah, discusses her humble beginnings, the importance of family, playing roles like Bessie Smith and future plans.
Check out some excerpts from the interview:
On how she was connected to best friend and business partner Shakim Compere (Shakim helped her build her multi-million dollar management company, Flavor Unit Entertainment):
“When she first got a record deal, I went to one of her shows, and the promoter wouldn’t pay her,” Compere recalls. “So I went and got her money, and gave it to her. We’ve been together ever since.”
How she feels when some magazines airbrush her forehead scar (a scar that’s been present since age of 3 when she tripped and fell):
Some magazines have airbrushed out the scar in photographs — and she wishes they wouldn’t. “It’s part of who I am, so I’d like it to be accepted as part of who I am,” she says. “There are a lot of people reading those magazines not unlike myself, who have some sort of scar, too. I don’t think we should try to make everything look perfect.”
How she felt after her daytime talk show (The Queen Latifah Show) only lasted two seasons:
“The Queen Latifah Show,” her syndicated daytime talker for Sony Pictures Television, shuttered last year after two seasons. Latifah is still disappointed that the talkshow, her second attempt in the genre, didn’t run longer. Shortly after its cancellation, media outlets reported that she paid some staff members out of her own pocket through the holidays. “I don’t know how that got out,” she says. “Look, I was appreciative of how hard everybody worked, and felt we should be proud of what we did. It was bad timing, holidays were coming, and we wanted to make sure everyone would be OK through the New Year.”
Her controversial role as the legendary blues singer, Bessie Smith and the attack on her own personal life:
While Latifah has never discussed her personal life, she’s aware there has been much speculation about her own sexuality, and that doing love scenes with women and playing the openly bisexual Smith could open the door to more questions. But she says she didn’t hesitate in taking the role. “I know what I’m doing in my private life, and I know what I’m not, and I know me. And people who are not privy to that don’t know; they don’t know what they think they know,” she says. “This is Bessie’s story. It has nothing to do with my life.”
Protecting her family from the media:
And while she calls herself “blessed” to have mostly avoided the scrutiny of tabloids, Latifah says she purposely avoids anything that could upset her. “At some point I told all my friends, ‘Don’t come to me with negative stuff in a magazine,’ ” she says. “Let them write whatever they want to write. I can’t control it.”
But she does draw a hard line: Don’t write about her family. “Then I’m ready to not only sue you, but put a knuckle sandwich in your mouth,” she says. “That’s where my Jersey roots come out!”
Her future plans:
Latifah’s future includes work with those from one of the greatest successes of her past. She’s set to ease on down the road as the title character in a live television staging of “The Wiz,” produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who first met Latifah when they cast her in “Chicago.” “We realized then that she could do everything,” Meron says. “She was a first-rate actress, singer and dancer. She has a star quality that lights up the screen.”
Read more of the interview HERE.
Personally, I have always (and still do) admire Queen’s tenacious spirit, her drive and ambition to succeed and her overall humble spirit.
What did you think of the interview?