All Articles Tagged "Queen Latifah"
HBO on Thursday released a cast list and other details regarding its upcoming film “Bessie,” a biopic of blues legend Bessie Smith with Queen Latifah in the title role.
The singer, rapper and daytime talk show host will also executive produce the project, which originates from HBO Films.
Co-stars include Michael K. Williams (“Boardwalk Empire”) as Bessie’s husband Jack; Khandi Alexander (“Scandal”) as Bessie’s big sister, Viola; Mike Epps as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tika Sumpter (“Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and Have Nots”) as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Tory Kittles (“True Detective”) as Bessie’s older brother Clarence; Oliver Platt, as fame photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten; Charles Dutton as Ma Rainey’s husband, William “Pa” Rainey; and Oscar winner Mo’Nique as blues legend Ma Rainey.
Read more on this upcoming film at EurWeb.com
By Alexandra Olivier
Do you remember Brandy’s standout remix of “I Wanna Be Down?” It was 1995, and the 15-year-old singer was joined by some of the hottest femcees of the time – MC Lyte, Queen Latifah and YoYo – to make a record for the ladies, by the ladies. THE jam for many women, even to this day, “I Wanna Be Down” covered all the R&B and hip-hop bases. Queen Latifah would go on to say earlier this year that there was friendly competition between the rappers to have the best verse on the track, but the women still kept it positive and maintained a friendship that has lasted nearly 20 years later.
And what about 1998’s “Ladies Night (Remix)?” Lil Kim managed to team up with Angie Martinez, Missy Elliot, Da Brat and Left Eye. And watching the video (with cameos from everyone from Queen Latifah to Aaliyah), you can see that there was nothing but love between all the women. It also made you want to call up your girls and take a trip somewhere where there’s plenty of sun and eye candy. And last but not least, there was 2004’s “Lady Marmalade.” Inspired by the film Moulin Rouge, Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil Kim and Pink bonded and let the world know that if there was ever a question of how to pull off s*xy, they had all the answers.
Where have these types of records gone? Modern day hip-hop has trouble celebrating a sense of sisterhood between women who equally trade hot 16s. It seems like women have fallen into a “crab-in-a-barrel” system – maliciously clawing at each other to claim the number one spot. I’m not at all surprised by the possible shade thrown by the reigning Queen of Hip-Hop at this year’s BET Awards. Nicki Minaj has owned the Best Female Hip Hop Artist category for five straight years and looking at her stats (and her competition), could you blame the public for voting for her? Unfortunately, the moment she sipped her piping hot Lipton tea while accepting her award, she further cemented the reality of the fragmented playing field occupied by women in the industry, despite what may have been her intention to motivate other femcees.
There are no more popular girl groups. Only solo artists.
There are no more “Lady Marmalade” videos bringing women of all sizes, colors and genres together. Only diss records and social media shade.
Can women in hip-hop be friends or is the competitive nature of the genre and the gender gap disparity breeding the cattiness women are known too well for?
This Bad Girls Club atmosphere is making it that much harder for women to succeed. Unlike male artists who are joining rap collectives and finding a home, women are forced to navigate a tougher path. Either latch on to an established male group/collective and wait for that breakout moment, or take on the industry solo in the hopes of being successful. Everyone can’t be Nicki Minaj, who seamlessly rotates between hip-hop and pop. The career lifespan of many female rappers has typically been short, with or without the backing of successful male counterparts and records, leaving many struggling independently (see Shawnna, Rah Digga, Khia and Jacki-O for some examples).
How different would the genre be if Lil Kim symbolically crowned Nicki – like Jay Z gifting J. Cole a chain – as the next lady ready to blaze the path? Instead, the two went head-to-head for too long over who was first to wear a colorful wig and lick a lollipop while squatting. The apparent lack of sisterhood further contributes to the decreasing success of female rappers attempting to break into the industry. While Nicki claims that there was no shade thrown toward Iggy Azalea at the 2014 BET Awards, with her level of success, she could reach out to budding artists to collaborate, or at least embrace them instead of reminding them who allegedly opened the door for them to even be known.
It isn’t solely on Nicki Minaj to save female rap, but as the biggest woman MC right now, if she wants to motivate women to be great and she wants to set a real blueprint (make that “pinkprint”), there needs to be a return to the camaraderie we used to see back in the day. There is more than enough room for everyone to eat. Not everyone will be friends, but every situation does not have to be a scene straight out of Mean Girls.
These celebrities made a lot of money entertaining masses but before they had millions in the bank, they found employment at a fast food eatery.
As the “Desperate Housewives’” Gabby Solis, Eva Longoria played a former model turned homemaker who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything off of the racks. But before she headed to Hollywood, Longoria worked for six years at a Wendy’s restaurant in her hometown of Corpus Christi, Texas. She used part of her hard-earned money to pay for her own quinceañara and to help cover some of the cost of cheerleading in high school.
June is Black Music Month and to pay homage to the melodic contributions of some of our favorite artists we’re taking a look at a few of our favorite celebrity singers turned actors who make it tough to decide which role we like them in best. For more on the artists here, head over to XFINITY CelebrateBlackTV.com. From The Wiz to Dreamgirls, check out great films with even better soundtracks, plus interviews, music videos and more all month long.
When he put on a dress, blonde wig, fishnet stockings and pursed up his lips as In Living Color’s ugly Wanda, he stole the show. The character helped launchJamie Foxx’s career in Hollywood and he became so popular, he earned a show of his own. But before he became a household name as a bona fide actor, Foxx’s first love was singing. He began playing the piano at five years old and after he graduated from high school, the Texas native went to college on a scholarship to study classical music and composition. Foxx brought home an Oscar for his role playing legendary singer Ray Charles in the film Ray and he’s also released four albums dating all the way back to 1994.
Queen Latifah is a busy woman. Talk show host, Cover girl and singer-actress are just some of the accolades on her resume, but perhaps one of the most important is, caretaker.
In an interview with PEOPLE, the Oscar-nominated star revealed that last spring as she was gearing up to star hosting for the Emmy-nominated The Queen Latifah Show, she was also preparing to take on the responsibility of caring for her mother Rita Owens’ medical needs.
“I wasn’t going to do the show unless she came here,” said Latifah. “I knew she was dealing with her health issues sometimes and I would not be able to get to her as easily.”
In 2013, Owens was diagnosed with scleroderma, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue build up in her lungs. She also suffers from pulmonary hypertension, which affects her ability to breathe.
We remember when Rita used to guest star on Living Single being a mother both on and off set! We love their relationship. Read more about how the Queen juggles her career and caring for her mother on Essence.
Queen Latifah is doing just about everything these days. She’s producing TV shows and movies, hosting her own talk show, and now, she’s about to bring to life the story of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith.
According to Shadow and Act, the HBO movie will be directed by Dee Rees, the woman behind the 2011 movie Pariah (a very good independent movie by the way), and she will write the film as well. Latifah will star as Smith, and her production company Flavor Unit, as well as the Zanuck Company, Shelby Stone Productions, and HBO, will back the project. Production is slated to start in June and could reportedly take place in Atlanta.
The movie, which will be called Blue Goose Hollow, will tell the story of Smith’s life and reportedly “debunk many of the myths that have circulated about her” over the years.
Smith was born in Chatanooga, Tennessee in 1892 and went on to become the biggest blues singer in the ’20s and ’30s, known as The Empress of The Blues. Her career took a hit during the Great Depression, and as she was trying to make a comeback, she lost her life in 1937 due to severe injuries from a major car crash. This will be the first time Smith’s story will be brought to the big screen.
We’re really excited about this news. What about you?
They are making some major changes over at BET.
Through a deal with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment BET’s 24-hour music and entertainment channel Centric is being rebranded as a cable channel just for black women. It will present programming selected to appeal to this new target audience. Under the exclusive co-production partnership, Flavor Unit will produce new content for the network. The production company, owned by Latifah and her partner Shakim Compere, produces her successful daytime talk program, The Queen Latifah Show. BET recently picked that program up as a late-night program.
“She does it all and we are happy to have her join us as a creative force as we continue to grow Centric into a premiere destination for African American women,” said Debra L. Lee, BET Networks Chairman and CEO. “We couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead.”
Continues Target Market News, “As part of the deal, BET Networks will develop and premiere an all-new Season 4 of the highly rated Single Ladies on Centric.”
BET’s move to lure in female viewers is rooted in economic potential.
“At more than 10 million strong, and in control of 20 billion dollars in buying power, the African American woman is an increasingly powerful, yet often overlooked consumer. No other network has embraced her with content designed specifically for her — until now,” said Louis Carr, BET Networks President of Broadcast and Media Sales.
Centric isn’t the only network making a play for black female viewers. We reported on Oxygen’s new lineup of shows, which is specifically targeting a multicultural younger woman. Centric is already a favorite with African-American women, especially ages 25 to 54 and that network is growing. It had gains of +20 percent in viewership between January and March.
Is Centric one of your favorites?
I play the “I Wanna Be Down (Hip-Hop Remix)” like it came out last week, but of course, it came out quite a long time ago, 1995 to be exact, yet it still is a favorite for many almost 20 years later. Brandy spoke to Vibe in the past about how big of a deal it was for her to have the ladies on the remix:
“The hip-hop remix to ‘I Wanna Be Down’…meant the world to me. I’m new…I’m fresh out of the box and these superstars are a part of my first single! They are my mentors and I looked up to them. I was a huge Queen Latifah fan. I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God…I can’t believe this is happening to me.’ I got the chance to vibe with all three of them. They embraced me as a little sister. I was one of the first R&B artists to welcome hip-hop onto an R&B beat. It had never been done before quite like that. Sylvia Rhone came up with that idea, and I just thought it was brilliant. She should get all the praise in the world for that. She wasn’t scared; she just said, ‘This is what we are going to do.’ I knew it was a special record.”
Maybe that’s why Queen Latifah got the gang all back together recently on her show to talk about the creative process behind making the song. That’s right, Brandy, Yo-Yo, MC Lyte and Queen La all sat on the same couch dishing on how the MCs changed verses over and over to compete with each other. Check out what Queen Latifah said:
“I remember going in the studio…Lyte was on that record, and I was like, this is not what–I thought it was a Brandy record, but then I said ‘whoa!’ Lyte made me re-write my part! [laughs] I was like, ‘wait a minute!’ I had some lovey-dovey, emotional cute…I was like ‘oh no no no, I better step my game up or MC Lyte is going to butcher me on the track [laughs]‘”.
But Brandy said she had no idea what they were talking about on the track, but she was just glad they hopped on the track.
“I didn’t know what ya’ll were saying. But I was just so happy that ya’ll were on the song I was like ‘I don’t care, honey! Just do it!’”
Love these ladies! Check out their conversation below (including Yo-Yo’s low-rider reference in the song), as well as the video for the remix further down.
The April 21 issue of JET Magazine is all about faith and spirituality and what better person to speak on those issues than rapper, producer, talk show host, actress, and all around female icon Queen Latifah?
The 44-year-old is the cover beauty for JET’s upcoming issue and inside she’s talking about some pretty heavy things, like the tragic loss of her brother, falling in love, and maturing as a person. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
On when her faith was most challenged
“The biggest thing to ever test my personal faith was the loss of my brother in a motorcycle accident… I believed it ruined my life. I probably had a five-year interruption in any type of personal growth. There were some things I didn’t learn in my twenties because I was disconnected emotionally. I could only get so close or feel so much.”
How she was able to move forward
“I fell in love. It was like a circuit breaker had switched off.”
On growing as a woman
I wouldn’t say I was immature, just more mature in certain areas. For instance, wanting to be more stable and looking at life down the road was something I thought about before, but I was more concerned about being the breadwinner. I never had a boss. When you are responsible for yourself you can do whatever you want. I took full advantage of that. I won’t go into the details, but I’m definitely one of those people who lives life to the fullest.
On having children
“I’ve wanted to adopt since I was 18 because I grew up with friends who could’ve used good parents. Maybe it’s my romanticism of after-school specials where someone would adopt a child and life would be great afterward. I have a lot of love to give.”
On her participation in the same-sex marriage ceremony at the Grammy Awards
“It was a beautiful moment and not a political decision… I knew it would make a statement and I’m fine with the statement it made.”
The April 21 issue of JET is on newsstands now. What do you think about Queen Latifah’s feature?
I love a good romantic comedy. Hell, I love a wack romantic comedy. So I’m excited to hear that Queen Latifah is joining forces with Kali Hawk (Couples Retreat), Macy Gray, DJ Qualls (Hustle & Flow), Tatyana Ali, Mo McCrae (The Butler) and La La Anthony to create November Rule.
The romantic comedy will tell the story of a man who makes a vow to stay away from women during the month of November. Hence the title. So if he’s in a relationship, he breaks it off and if he’s not, he makes a particular effort not to get involved. But that only works for so long. Eventually, he meets a woman worth giving up the games. But sticking to his silly rule, he losses her and has to jump over hoops to get her back.
Right now, we don’t know which actors are going to play which roles but we’ll keep you posted. We spy Jay Ellis in these shots though…you can never go wrong with him.
The film will be directed by Mike Elliot, who’s served as producer for some romantic comedies you may know like, My Best Friend’s Girl and The Prince and Me. Elliot will produce this film as well. The script was written by Candice Childress and Juwan Lee.
Queen Latifah will serve as executive producer for the project under her Flavor Unit Entertainment umbrella.
So what do you think about this movie? Does it sound like it’ll be good? Will you check it out?