rap musician, actress
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey
Queen Latifah, who began in hip-hop music when she formed Ladies Fresh, released her first album, All Hail the Queen in 1989. Subsequent releases include Nature of a Sista (1991), Black Reign (1994), and U.N.I.T.Y. (1995, for which she received a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance). Her recording success led to small movie roles in Jungle Fever (1991) and Juice (1992). Her portrayal of a nurse in Michael Keaton's My Life (1993) revealed her dramatic talent, and larger roles followed, including one of the leads on the Fox network's situation comedy Living Single (1993–97). Latifah has continued her recording career, releasing Order in the Court (1998), and her film career, co-starring with Holly Hunter and Danny Devito in the 1998 theatrical release Living Out Loud. She hosted her own television talk show Queen Latifah Show (1999-2001). In 2002, she netted a supporting actress Oscar nod for her role as Mama Morton in that year's Best Picture winner, Chicago. 2003 saw her starring in the box office hit Bringing Down the House with Steve Martin. Her recent films include Beauty Shop, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (both 2005), in which she plays Auntie Em, a remake of the 1950 Alec Guinness film, The Last Holiday (2006), and Hairspray (2007).