Queen Latifah Opens Up About Her Private Life & Embracing a World Outside of Hip-Hop in Variety
After a successful career as a rapper, the New Jersey native knew she was destined for more. The Grammy Award-winning artist moved on to acting, starring in the 1996 hit Set It Off and the recent biopic Bessie, for which she's earned an Emmy nomination. Then there's her deal with Cover Girl launching the Queen Collection and producing multiple shows for BET.
“I felt like if I couldn’t say I was the best rapper -- male or female -- I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket,” she said. “So it was always about trying to expand from the beginning, be it musically, business-wise, or other opportunities.”
Although the All Hail the Queen creator's sexual life has been a hot topic in tabloids, she steered clear of the subject even as she played blues singer Bessie Smith, a bisexual woman, in Bessie.
“I know what I’m doing in my private life, and I know what I’m not, and I know me. And people who are not privy to that don’t know; they don’t know what they think they know,” she says. “This is Bessie’s story. It has nothing to do with my life.”
“I think it’s human nature. People have curiosity about people’s sexuality, because we’re curious about sex,” she continued. “I think the problem is we don’t talk about it enough. We act like sex is bad sometimes. We act like love is bad sometimes, or makes you weak somehow.”
But one thing is for sure: the Newark native doesn't take kindly to those messing with her loved ones. “Then I’m ready to not only sue you, but put a knuckle sandwich in your mouth,” she said regarding her family. “That’s where my Jersey roots come out!”
Take a look at the Variety cover and you'll see a scar on Latifah's forehead. She shares her disappointment over previous photo shoots with magazines, when they would edit out the scar -- a result of tripping over a phone cord at the age of 3. But this time, her scar shows prominently.
“It’s part of who I am, so I’d like it to be accepted as part of who I am,” the "U.N.I.T.Y." rapper said. “There are a lot of people reading those magazines not unlike myself, who have some sort of scar, too. I don’t think we should try to make everything look perfect.”
Find out if Queen Latifah wins the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie when the 67th Emmy Awards air on Fox at 8 p.m. Sept. 20.
See 100 Hip-Hop Facts That Will Blow Your Mind