Over the years, along with being known as one of the coolest MCs in the game and having an established acting career, multi-hyphenate Queen Latifah has also been known for her iconic hair. Most often pressed, fans have seen her hair buzzed, straight, bumped, wavy, slicked back, and almost everything in between. While sharing some details on her new CBS show The Equalizer, the Queen also shed some light on how her hair has managed to stay healthy and versatile throughout the course of her career.
Serving as the executive producer and starring as the lead, Queen Latifah carries CBS’s The Equalizer, a TV series crime drama based on the movie series of the same name. As the first Black woman to star in the role, Latifah said it feels amazing to play her character Robyn McCall, a savvy and mysterious hero to those with nowhere to turn. In addition to the bouncy curls she rocks in her new series, while talking about her “laid and slayed” look over the years, Latifah told Essence that even though she didn’t always have the resources, her mother, and eventually some helpful hairstylists along the way, gave her the know-how on keeping her hair fresh.
“I think I got very fortunate,” Queen Latifah began. “I didn’t have hair people when I was first starting out or when I was younger or when I was going to the club, so I learned how to put parts in my hair, how to shave it, how to do it, how to curl it. My mother taught me how to curl and how to do my hair so — and I studied what people did around me. I’ve had the great fortune of working with some very amazing makeup artists, hairstylists, and I study them you know? I watch what they do when I’m sitting in their chair if I’m awake,” the star added with a chuckle. “I can appreciate great work, and they teach me things. They tell me things.”
Speaking about one of the first great hairstylists she had, Latifah credited Julie Baker from the Living Single crew in particular with her hair being where it is now. As a musician in the hip-hop game and an actor on the hit 90s show, Queen expressed that at that time, her busy schedule called for constant heat and manipulation to be added to her hair.
“When I went on television,” the actress began, “I started doing my hair so often because I had an album out at the same time I was doing the show so my hair was getting done four or five times a week – getting pressed and pressed. My edges started breaking and I was like ‘Yo!’”
“Now you’re talking to ‘Hip-Hop’s Queen Latifah’, not Khadijah,” she continued. “So I was like, ‘I ain’t about to lose my edges over no show.’”
“I was like ‘Nah my edges is breaking, it’s not happening,’ Queen added.
Speaking on how Baker helped her through, Latifah said the hairstylist advised her to “grow out that perm” and style her naturally textured hair instead of continuing to deal with processed hair that couldn’t stand up to the heat.
“I was from Jersey, you know? We permed our hair,” Latifah recalled. Continuing on what Baker told her, she said, “She was like no, you gotta grow this out. You’ve gotta grow it out, your natural hair can handle this. We can work with it, but you’re just gonna have to grow out that perm.”
The multi-talented star joked, “The hair’s always another character” for her alongside the roles that she plays. To see Queen Latifah star as Robyn McCall in The Equalizer, and the ‘do she sports in the role, tune in directly after the Superbowl at 10 p.m. on Feb. 7 on CBS.