Queen Latifah

Actor / Rapper / Singer

Born: 18 March 1970
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey
Best known as: The jail matron Mama in the movie Chicago

Name at birth: Dana Owens

One of the first female stars of hip-hop, Queen Latifah proved with her first album, All Hail the Queen (1989), that rap had room for feminism. After establishing herself as a rapper, she moved into acting, appearing in a small role in Spike Lee's movie Jungle Fever (1991, starring Wesley Snipes), and more significant roles in Set it Off (1996) and Living Out Loud (1998). She also became a television star during the 1990s, first in the sitcom Living Single (1993), then as the host of her own talk show (1999-2001). And through it all, Queen Latifah was still making records and winning Grammys. In 2003 she co-starred with Steve Martin in the feature film Bringing Down the House and she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Chicago (2002, starring Renee Zellweger). Her other films include Barbershop 2: Back in Business (2004, with Ice Cube), Beauty Shop (2005, with Alicia Silverstone) and Last Holiday (2006, with Alicia Witt) and Hairspray (2007, with John Travolta). Her albums include Nature of a Sista (1991), Black Reign (1994) and Order in the Court, and her songs include "Ladies First" and "U.N.I.T.Y."

Extra credit: Queen Latifah co-founded her own record label in 1993 -- Flavor Unit Records, a part of her media company Flavor Unit Entertainment.

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