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Queen Latifah: From New Jersey Choirs to Hollywood Walk of Fame

Essex County

By: Richard L. Smith 

In the spirit of celebrating influential figures in Black History within New Jersey, today's RLS Media spotlight shines brightly on Dana Elaine Owens, known globally as Queen Latifah.Ad Her journey from the choir benches of Shiloh Baptist Church in Bloomfield to international stardom is a testament to her unparalleled talent and resilience.

Queen Latifah's artistic voyage began early, with a notable performance in "The Wizard of Oz" at St. Anne's parochial school, where she took on the role of Dorothy.

This Newark-born icon, raised in East Orange, New Jersey, embarked on her recording career with the release of 'All Hail the Queen' in 1989 under Tommy Boy Records.

The album's hit single "Ladies First" heralded the arrival of a new voice in hip-hop, one that would advocate for women's empowerment and social justice.

Latifah, the daughter of a former Newark Police Officer and an Irvington Township High School teacher, has always infused her work with deep social and political consciousness, combined with her remarkable acting and lyrical prowess.

Her stage name, Latifah, meaning "delicate and sensitive" in Arabic, was a gift from a cousin she has carried with grace throughout her career.

The loss of her mother, Ms. Rita Owens, in 2018 marked a poignant moment in Latifah's life, reminding us of the personal trials she has faced alongside her professional triumphs.Ad Despite these challenges, Queen Latifah has remained a pioneering figure in hip-hop, breaking barriers for women in the industry and advocating for equality.

Her contributions to music, film, and television have been recognized with a myriad of awards, including a Grammy, an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award nomination, making her the first female hip-hop artist to receive such an honor.

In 2006, her achievements were immortalized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

As we honor Queen Latifah on this 15th day of our Black History Month celebration, we not only acknowledge her groundbreaking career but also her enduring impact on the music and entertainment industry.

Her journey from New Jersey to global acclaim is a powerful reminder of the indomitable spirit of those who dare to dream big and break boundaries. Thank you, Queen Latifah, for your immeasurable contributions and for paving the way for future generations.

INFORMATION & IMAGE CREDIT: Wikipedia, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Mark O'Donald

SPONSORS: Nino's Ristorante & Pizzeria, Bergen Street Harrison, NJ, Jorelle Green S. Green (Keller Willams Realtor), Champions Action Martial Arts (Union, NJ)