Queen Latifah

BATD ON Feb 09, 2010 AT 2:23 pm

Queen Latifah

Commonly referred to as the First Lady of Hip Hop, Queen Latifah has certainly had an evolving career, from rapping teen to award winning actress. We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the many details in her busy life.

Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, was born and raised in New Jersey to a family full of policemen. Both her father and older brother were police officers, and her mother was a schoolteacher. Her nickname was given to her as a child by her cousin, and means sensitive and delicate in Arabic. She has gone by Latifah ever since. Because of her large stature, she excelled at basketball in high school, but also enjoyed singing in musical productions. Her interest in music, especially hip-hop grew, and she released her first CD when she was 19.

Queen Latifah

Unfortunately, her life entered a rough spot when her brother was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1992. After this happened, she became depressed and developed a drug dependency. She was also arrested twice, and was carjacked at gunpoint. She eventually worked herself out of this slump, making acting her new hobby.

She appeared on several shows like Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and starred in her own show, Living Single. Eventually she broke into film, her first big opportunity coming to her in the form of the musical Chicago. Making her a household name, she was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Latifah didn’t win this award, but her co-star, Catherine Zeta-Jones, did. Despite this setback, she has won a Golden Globe, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, an Image Award and a Grammy. Latifah’s other notable films include Hairspray, Barber Shop and Secret Life of Bees.

Off screen, she has remained busy. She penned an autobiography in 1999 and works as the face of CoverGirl, Pizza Hut and Jenny Craig. Don’t worry, we also think this is an interesting combination. Regardless of who is flashing her face in their commercials, she is just one of the many faces in Valentine’s Day.

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