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Queen Latifah is an American rapper, record producer and actress known for her roles in the films Set it Off, Bone Collector, Last Holiday and Chicago.
Queen Latifah - Full Episode (45:06)
Kim Fields - Full Biography (42:23)
She was nicknamed Latifah, which means "delicate and sensitive" in Arabic. She started her music career as a human beat box alongside rap group Ladies Fresh, and her album "Black Reign" was the first album by a female MC to ever go gold.
A short biography of Queen Latifah who, as one of the first female rap artists, caught the music industry's attention with hits like "Unity." Since then, she's turned her stage personality into a franchise.
Kim Fields was only 10 years old when she got a taste of stardom on TV's "The Facts of Life" as "Tootie."
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Famed musician and actress Queen Latifah was born on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. Her debut album All Hail to the Queen sold more than 1 million copies, and the single "U.N.I.T.Y" earned Latifah her first Grammy Award. Latifah has also garnered acclaim for acting; she earned her first Oscar nomination (best supporting actress) for her performance in the blockbuster musical Chicago.
"I'm not allowed to get a big head, I've still got to do the simple things in life."
"Look at people for an example, but then make sure to do things your way. Surround yourself with positive people."
Rapper, record producer and actress Queen Latifah was born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, in Newark, New Jersey. The second child of Lance and Rita Owens, Latifah is best known for her social politics, acting skills and gift for rhyme. When she was 8 years old, a Muslim cousin gave her the nickname Latifah, meaning "delicate and sensitive" in Arabic. Latifah began singing in the choir of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and had her first public performance when she sang a version of "Home" as one of the two Dorothys in a production of The Wizard of Oz at St. Anne's parochial school.
In her first year of high school, Latifah began informal singing and rapping in the restrooms and locker rooms. In her junior year, she formed a rap group, Ladies Fresh, with her friends Tangy B and Landy D in response to the formation of another young women's group. Soon the group was making appearances wherever they could. Latifah's mother was a catalyst; she was in touch with the students and the music. She invited Mark James, a local disc jockey known as D.J. Mark the 45 King, to appear at a school dance. The basement of James's parents' house in East Orange, which was equipped with electronic and recording equipment, became the hangout of Latifah and her friends. They began to call themselves "Flavor Unit."
James was beginning a career as a producer and made a demo record of Queen Latifah's rap Princess of the Posse. He gave the demo to the host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fred Braithwaite (professionally known as "Fab 5 Freddy"). The recording captured the attention of Tommy Boy Music employee Dante Ross, who immediately signed Latifah, and in 1988 issued her first single, "Wrath of My Madness." The track met with a positive response and afforded her the opportunity to launch a European tour, and to perform at the Harlem's famed Apollo Theater. The next year Latifah released her first album, All Hail to the Queen, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies.
As she began to earn money, Latifah displayed an interest in investment, putting money into a delicatessen and a video store on the ground floor of the apartment in which she was living. She came to realize that she had a knack for business, and realized that there was an opening for her in record production.
In 1991, Latifah organized and became chief executive officer of the Flavor Unit Records and Management Company, headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey.
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