Cheat Sheet: Queen Latifah
What you probably already know:
Queen Latifah has been a very busy lady, at least having a good whack at pretty much every method Hollywood has ever invented to make more money out of a lot of money. Currently, she is the spokeswoman for Pizza Hut, and diet-dealer Jenny Craig – which obviously makes complete sense. Obviously. Growing up in New Jersey with her teacher mother and law-enforcer father, Queen Latifah clearly knew she’d be richer and better than the rest of us from an early age; while the rest of us were furiously trading Pokemon cards and still picking our noses in public, she was reading the Arabic dictionary and choosing her own name – “Latifah” means “delicate” and “very kind”. Shit, all we wanted to aspire to at age 8 was to make it to 10, what with the double digits and all.
Lots of us now know Queen Latifah for her roles as the big black lady with the big black voice in several high-profile musicals, including as Motormouth Maybelle in lavish 60s-romp Hairspray, and as sexpot-jailer Matron Mama Morton in 2002’s award-winning Chicago, for which she earned Academy Award and Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress nominations. Speaking of support, aside from streams of campy ridiculousness, she has also done some lovely work that’s worth a watch if you fancy thinking a tiny bit. But not that much.
Her film Life Support, which reads like a very long, but very heartfelt after-school special about AIDS, earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, and she also has a line of CoverGirl cosmetics called “Queen” especially for women of colour. It’s so rare for a celebrity to ever turn around and do something genuinely useful for humanity that we distinctly remember cheering right along with Tyra’s positively thrilled weave when she turned up on America’s Next Top Model to promote the range.
Rumours have been swirling for absolute aeons about the multi-storey, shiny floored, Narnia-sized glass closet Queen Latifah has been living in. Whilst the jury’s still officially out on her sexuality, everyone is at least 79.7% sure that she’s gay – muff-muncher or not, BFF can’t find it in us to quite give a damn when she’s SO COOL. Why, you ask? Read on…
What you might not know:
SHE’S A RAPPER. Like an honest-to-goodness, gun-toting, stoner-iffic (convicted for these in 1996, in case you wanted to know), oversized cargo-trouser-wearing, turban-headed rapper from about 1989 to 1998. She started out beat-boxing for Ladies Fresh – incidentally, not a feminine hygiene girlband – but quickly rose up as a solo artist, releasing her first album, All Hail The Queen, in 1989.
“Ladies First” remains her biggest hit from those halcyon days, but our personal favourite is from her 1998 third album Black Reign; ode to safe sex “Coochie Bang” is precious difficult to find on the interwebs. Of course, there was no way we were letting the Queen chuck this in the closet too, so BFF went a-hunting, and suffice it to say, with lyrics such as “Try fittin’ with a mitten so he won’t be drippin’ and flippin’ girl, cause brothers better strap it all up with a COOOOOOOOONDOM.”, it’s better than any of us dared to dream.
Speaking of DDreams coming true, Queen Latifah had a breast reduction back in 2003, bringing her F-cup tatas down to a slightly less cartoonish DD cup. If you ask us, that’s cheating on the whole Jenny Craig thing, but if there’s a flaw in Ms Latifah’s general existence, it’s that she’s one of these people who always talks about losing weight and never seems to be able to pull it off, which is just fine since there’s clearly no need for her to even bother.
Queen Latifah quote:
“I am not one to turn down macaroni and cheese.” If this isn’t a sign of eligibility for US presidency, we don’t know what is.
What to say at a dinner party:
“With your broad smile, bright eyes and quintuple-threat ways,you bring heart and soul to every role you take on. A career as long, lucrative and critically-acclaimed as yours is obviously exactly what Martin Luther King was talking about. Latifah, you are our Queen, girl. PREACH!”
What not to say at a dinner party:
What Queen Latifah’s got going for her that makes her so uniquely appealing amongst our roster of Hollywood greats is that you can be simultaneously terrified and totally enamoured of her. We don’t doubt that she would kick every single one of our pale, pretentious and pudgy buttocks if we gave her lip, but we also wholly believe she’d adopt us if we only asked nicely enough – and maybe sang her a song about Jeebus.