With over 40 box office hit starring roles, countless peer and industry acknowledgements and a business empire that includes artist management, film and television production, digital content, a record label, and spring water, Queen Latifah has transformed herself into one of the most potent brands in entertainment.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have a great fanbase that’s allowed me to experiment.” Queen Latifah explains late one Thursday afternoon. She’s sitting erect on a couch in the Michelle Obama area at The Queen Latifah Show set on the Sony Studios lot at the far west side of Studio City sharing her work ethic and coping mechanisms with a small group of nine bloggers who have come to interview her in her element. In every show monologue, as in her many characters, Queen Latifah is inclined toward positivity and a go-get-it enthusiasm, the comfortable expression of complicated achievements, delivered with A-List flair. It has been a hard-earned comfort yet graced by a Queen’s touch.
She’s wearing her Carmel-hued Uggs after a typically jam-packed shooting day that included an interview with Janelle Monae, a lively performance, and an audience toy give-away where hand selected media bloggers set in the audience. Toned and caramel, Queen Latifah is a regal figure, even in relative repose. She’s wearing relaxed dark grey slacks that fit perfectly from her womanly frame, a white tank, and a long-grey open sweater. The look is studiously casual . . . until you glance at her flawless skin and notice a perfectly straightened shoulder-length coif so shiny it could pass for a gold bar from fort knox.
The audience has left and the rows of seating are hollow in front of a dimly-lit set as the end of the day sets over the Queen Latifah show (figuratively and literally). “I think shows need time to breath, anyone who takes on a talk show is running the gauntlet and taking a chance,” says Latifah. “Many of them don’t work and some of them do…in the mean time, I will act in some movies, produce some movies and keep juggling other balls.” Queen returns to the narrative of what is her grind, in the talk show world; we’d later learn the television longevity education, the education of cancellation. That journey to prime time began in the rugged streets of Newark, New Jersey with a committed mother and loyal group of friends, and now continues on movie sets and boardrooms, in posh homes and VIP hideaways, around the world.
Queen Latifah now even sings comfortably in these different genres. “I’ve been doing what I’m doing for 20 plus years now and I’m re-inspired by the people who say they inspire them,” Latifah explains “I don’t take this lightly or take it for granted and appreciate all the support that I’ve gotten from every crazy thing that I’ve tried to do through the years. People at least give me a chance to try things and I just appreciate that.”