Tag: Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah Partners with Procter & Gamble to Launch the Queen Collective – a Program for Women Filmmakers

Queen Latifah (PHOTO: PAUL ARCHULETA/FILMMAGIC)

by Suzy Byrne via huffingtonpost.com

Award-winning actress and singer Queen Latifah recently announced the Queen Collective to help women make films — or, as she tells Yahoo Entertainment, to ensure “that the queens have an opportunity.” In a partnership with Procter & Gamble, the initiative will find two unknown and diverse female directors, give them all the resources they need to tell their stories “from A to Z,” and then distribute the films.

“There are just not enough female directors,” the star of films from Girls Trip” to “Chicago” says of her push to bolster gender equality in the film business. “This is a small part of what we’d like to do to help change the disparity that we see out there in terms of all the dollars that are given to male directors, all the support that’s given to male directors, and everything we see, yet we’re at least half of who’s watching these movies and buying these products. So we want to make sure women have an opportunity… that the queens have an opportunity. The Queen Collective will make sure that happens.”

Being a voice for women isn’t new for Queen Latifah, who was among the founders of We Do It Together, the celebrity-backed, female-centric, non-profit production company focusing on female empowerment in films, TV, and other media. Her commitment can actually be traced back to her teen years as a young rapper.

“I try to support anything I can in terms of making sure women have an opportunity,” she says. “That’s just who I am. Before I really knew what a feminist was, I was already helping to promote the feminist cause. I was just a 15-year-old rapper. I had no idea that the fact that I wanted to be looked at with respect and treated as such — and that I wrote about that in my rhymes and made records about it that people heard — was really pushing that forward, affecting other young girls and women who felt the same way, and giving other women a voice who felt that they were a little voiceless in hip-hop at that time. Finally, there was someone that was speaking their language.”

Since Queen Latifah, 48, started rapping about female issues in the ’80s — “All Hail the Queen” came out in 1989, when she was 19 — isn’t she frustrated that she still has to fight so hard just so women’s voices can be heard?

“I would say it’s frustrating — it can be to a point — but we are talking about thousands of years of male patriarchy,” she says. “So I can’t be mad because I started rapping about it in the late ’80s and early ’90s that everything hasn’t changed in a few decades. We have a lot of ideas to bring down the walls of, if you will. I think actually we’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. But the more we bring it to the attention of the public, the more people fight behind the scenes and make sure this is seen in front of the scenes, then we will affect every element of how people see the world.”

She wants to see the world represented equally — and realistically.

“We are fighting to make sure everyone is represented in an equal way — and for who they truly are, not some stereotype of who you are. This is something I had to fight against as a rapper: Every rapper is from the ghetto and went through hell and got shot sometimes. No, we didn’t. I went to Catholic school from third to ninth grade,” the East Orange, N.J., native laughs.

“I didn’t have a lot of money, but this was my experience, and I know many people who lived like that. I listened to rock-and-roll growing up — and so did a lot of my homeboys. Why? ‘Cause we’re from New Jersey, and we love Bon Jovi and Springsteen. We like hip-hop too. But if you let the media tell you, its ‘black people don’t listen to rock-and-roll; they just like R&B and rap.’” She predicts that “millennials will have a big part of changing all these ideas that have been pumped down our throats in our day.”

Queen Latifah says the encouragement she has received through the years by female fans has encouraged her in turn to continue to try to be a trailblazer for women.

“I would run into them along the way, and they had no idea the encouragement they gave me to continue to speak in that way, to feel confident about moving in that way, and moving my career in that way,” says Latifah, who made the jump to TV in the early ’90s, followed later by the jump to film. “All throughout the years I’ve been encouraged by young girls… And not just girls, but girls with different bodies. Just becoming a CoverGirl made them feel different about what they can accomplish. Or being someone who is bigger than a size 10 thinks, ‘Oh, I can be a successful singer because Queen Latifah did it.’ I had no idea I could influence other people.”

She continues: “So this Queen Collective is really important because there’s something special about seeing a woman who comes up with her own idea, who is able to take that idea, hire her own crew, make sure that idea is shot and done and edited and comes to the public eye, and they have a chance to see her vision. She will inspire so many other people by making that happen… This is what you need to be able to show in order to inspire other people, particularly the young girls and men, and let them know this is a normal thing and this is OK. This should not be an anomaly. This should be the norm.”

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/queen-latifah-helping-women-make-movies_us_5b438393e4b048036ea0ffad?a8j%3Futm_hp_ref=black-voices&ir=Black%2BVoices

U.S. Congress Member Hakeem Jeffries Honors Female Hip-Hop Artists on House Floor for Women’s History Month

(via youtube.com)

by Alanna Vagianos via huffingtonpost.com

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) brought down the House on Tuesday with a loving tribute to female hip-hop and rap artists.

“Throughout the years, artists such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen have been recognized on the floor of the House of Representatives,” Jeffries said. “Today, I rise to honor the top 10 female MC hip-hop collaborations of all time.”

Jeffries’ top 10 includes Eve’s “My Chick Bad,” Lauryn Hill’s “Ready Or Not” and, of course, Lil’ Kim’s “Quiet Storm” remix. He also shouted out the legendary Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and Salt-N-Pepa.

“As we celebrate Women’s History Month here in the United States’ Congress, these dynamic women are worthy to be praised,” Jeffries said.

This isn’t the first time the Brooklyn-native congressman has honored rap artists on the House floor. Last year, Jeffries paid tribute to New York rapper The Notorious B.I.G. on the 20th anniversary of his death.

To watchJeffries’ speech, click below:

“Girls Trip” Debuts with $30.4 Million at Box Office, Best Live-Action Comedy Opening of 2017

“Girls Trip” (photo via comingsoon.net)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Deadline.com, Universal’s Girls Trip  has earned director Malcolm D. Lee not only his second A+ CinemaScore following 2013’s The Best Man Holiday, but also the best opening of his career at the domestic B.O. with $30.4M, beating Holiday‘s $30.1M. This is an incredible start for a movie that cost under $20M, is getting across-the-board positive reviews (plus, Tiffany Haddish‘s viral Will-and-Jada swamp story on “Jimmy Kimmel” exists because of this movie, so even more reason to give it up to “Girls Trip”) and it’s great for comedies in a marketplace. On Friday, the film made $11.7M and eased 5% on Saturday for $11.1M.

RelishMix sees Girls Trip‘s momentum fueled by its cast’s passion to promote on social media. “It’s encouraging to see an entire cast get behind a film — every cast member is social and activated, which is a true rarity. So, many of the YouTube views are surely driven by the super-social cast, led by Queen Latifah’s 18M followers,” reported the social media firm. Jada Pinkett Smith counts 8.9M followers across Facebook and Twitter.

Girls Trip is a break-through comedy that is providing audiences with big entertainment, big laughs,” said Universal domestic distribution chief Nick Carpou, “Malcolm D. Lee is a master at creating characters and telling stories that resonate, and in conjunction with producers Will Packer and James Lopez, has brought us a fresh, raunchy, empowering comedy.”

In other box office news, World War II drama “Dunkirk” came in at number one this weekend, earning $50.5 million, but sci-fi spectacle “Valerian” crashed hard, collecting only $17M in its fifth-place debut. The top 5 were rounded out by holdovers “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which earned $22M in its third week, and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” scoring $20.4M in its second.

Black While Funny and Female: Comedic Actresses Speak on Working in Hollywood

(Photos by Kirk McCoy via latimes.com)

by Tre’vell Anderson via latimes.com

Making it in Hollywood is no easy feat, and doing so as a woman is even more difficult. If that woman is black — or Latina or Asian or otherwise nonwhite — the odds just aren’t in her favor. But with the release of “Girls Trip,” four black women — Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish — attempt a takeover of the buddy comedy, possibly the first time black women have led such a picture.

One reason as to why? The number of black women thought to be able to carry a studio-backed film is slim, and there hasn’t been a bona-fide black female comedic superstar since Whoopi Goldberg. We spoke to 18 funny black women about their industry experiences. Below are their thoughts:

Tracee Ellis Ross

“Girlfriends,” “black-ish”

While most probably know Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow on the hit “black-ish,” others see Joan Clayton of “Girlfriends,” the early 2000s show almost no one would argue about rebooting.

While most probably know Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow on the hit “Black-ish,” others see Joan Clayton of “Girlfriends” — the early 2000s show fans would love to see earn the revival or reunion treatment.

Regardless of her career experiences, Ross is just beginning to get her due recognition. In addition to nabbing a Golden Globe earlier this year, she’s earned her second consecutive Emmy nomination. Some might say she has all the makings of a comedic superstar.

But when she takes a moment to ponder other black women who fit the bill she’s forced to think hard.

“Regina Hall … Issa Rae … Jessica Williams,” she said after a moment, “but I shouldn’t have to search to come up with those names. The difficulty is, and I think what happens is, you might see somebody in a role and you’re like, ‘Holy …! She is so funny.’ Then she doesn’t get another opportunity, but she needs those roles because they help you build a career so everybody knows your name and knows what you’re capable of.

“And it’s not just black comedic women. There are, I’m sure, a lot of very funny Asian women and Latina women, and we know some of them, but it’s not because the talent doesn’t exist. The other thing is, the talent exists, but [performers] need the experience to keep getting better and have more depth.”

Ross is encouraged, however, by the likes of Rae.

“I think Issa is a beautiful example of ‘You’re not going to give me any real estate? Fine. I’m going to make it,’” she said. “There is revolution going on.”

How did you settle into comedic acting?

I loved making people laugh when I was younger. It was frowned upon during dinner time but I thought it was hilarious to make my sister laugh. It was often the thing that got me kicked out of class because I was always silly. It was one of the ways my shyness manifested and the way I protected myself and kept people at bay. And I’ve always been a very physical person so when I experience a feeling, I experience it in my entire body.

As I look back, it was a natural progression into the physical comedy and the ways I use my body. In terms of my career, I don’t know that it was a conscious choice that I moved into comedy, but it was an authentic choice. I don’t consider myself funny. I consider myself silly. I just tell the truth and my truth comes out in a way that makes people laugh. My goal isn’t to make people laugh, but I enjoy that exchange.

I think the difficulty for actors of any kind is when you get stuck with what other people assume is who you are. We’re actors and we can do anything.

— Tracee Ellis Ross

Who are some of your comedic inspirations?

I was a Carol Burnett, Lucy [Ball], Lily Tomlin type of girl. They were the three women that etched it in for me. I remember looking back and seeing Goldie Hawn in “Private Benjamin.” I was drawn to all of that growing up. Those were the women that defined freedom and courage [for me]. From there so many funny women like Julia Louis-Dreyfus — I don’t even understand [how she does it].

And then Whoopi Goldberg did the Moms Mabley documentary, and I was so grateful that she did that because it really showed me that Moms Mabley is specifically one of the reasons I can do what I do. She carved something out and did something so consciously that allows me to be a black woman in comedy.

Read more from Ross here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-black-women-comedy-tracee-ellis-ross-20170720-htmlstory.html

Tiffany Haddish

“Girls Trip,” “Keanu,” “The Carmichael Show”

Tiffany Haddish is legitimately having a moment. As a star of “Girls Trip,” opposite industry vets Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Regina Hall. Based on her performance, and with an upcoming Showtime comedy special, she’s on her way to household-name status.

But what else would you expect from “the last black unicorn?”

How did you get into comedy?

My social worker. [laughs] I was living in South Central L.A. and was being bused to Woodland Hills. I was getting in trouble because I was not sure how to make friends. So I made this imaginary friend up because I thought I was at the Nickelodeon Awards — I had never been around this many white people. I thought I was at the Nickelodeon Awards every day so I thought I needed to be all creative and entertaining because I thought white people lived in TV — my concept of people was really messed up.

I remember going to court and seeing the judge. I thought he was the judge from “People’s Court.” [laughs] By the time I got to 10th grade, it was bothering my social worker that she was getting called to the school every week. I was getting sent to the dean’s office for being racist because I had this bird named Cracker. It was this imaginary bird, and I would be like, “Cracker want a Polly?” And I would take actual crackers and break them up on my shoulder. Kids would laugh and stuff. We’d be taking a test and I would be like, “What’s the answer to number seven Cracker?” And they’d be like, “Go to the dean’s office!”

So my social worker was like, “You have two choices this time. You can go to Laugh Factory Academy Camp or you can go to psychiatric therapy. Which one you want to do this summer?” I was like, “Which one got drugs?” and I went to comedy camp. It was the first time a man ever told me I was beautiful and I didn’t feel like I was going to be hurt in some kind of way. They taught me confidence, communication skills, how to write, how to have stage presence.

Read more from Haddish here: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/la-ca-black-women-comedy-tiffany-haddish-20170720-htmlstory.html
Continue reading “Black While Funny and Female: Comedic Actresses Speak on Working in Hollywood”

Queen Latifah and Jill Scott to Star in Lifetime’s Flint Water Crisis Movie “Flint”

Queen Latifah / Jill Scott (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Deadline.com, Queen Latifah and Jill Scott have signed on to the Lifetime TV movie about the Flint Water crisis.

Latifah will executive produce the project, reuniting with “The Wiz Live” and “Steel Magnolias” producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “Steel Magnolias” was the network’s third-most-watched original telecast ever. Latifah will also portray a resident of Flint fighting to expose the poisoning of the community.

The script is inspired by the Time magazine cover story, “The Toxic Tap,” which “follows the story of three women from Flint who sought justice following the wrongdoing committed against the residents of the city who were unknowingly drinking and using lead-laden water.  Their actions inspired a national movement for safe drinking…”

Jill Scott is to play a real-life activist.

To read more, go to: https://deadline.com/2017/04/queen-latifah-betsy-brandt-jill-scott-marin-ireland-star-flint-lifetime-water-crisis-movie-1202069713/

Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Team Up with Travel Channel for Mini-Series ‘The Best Place to Be’

Queen Latifah (photo via shadowandact.com)

article via shadowandact.com

“The Best Place To Be,” a new Travel Channel mini-series from Queen Latifah and Shakim Compere at Flavor Unit, is an invitation to discover the world through the eyes and access of Hollywood’s most adventurous.

Each of the four one-hour episodes of “The Best Place To Be” follow a noted personality as they share the best places to eat, drink, shop and sightsee at their favorite international destinations.

“This is a fun show that gives a true glimpse into how to really escape and explore,” says Shakim Compere of Flavor Unit. “Actors and performers are fortunate enough to travel around the globe for work and fun. But there’s always places that stay with them — these are the cities they keep going back to.”

The mini-series will premiere two episodes in April and two in May as follows:

“Rio, Fit for a Queen” – Premieres Sunday, April 2 at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT Queen Latifah and her friends explore Rio de Janeiro, taking mototaxis to the favelas, trying local dishes and dancing the samba. From footvolley on the beach to hunting for waterfalls in the rainforest, they discover why Rio is the best place to be.

“Anthony Anderson’s Barcelona” – Premieres Sunday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT Actor Anthony Anderson and his friend Jeff Sanchez head to Barcelona, Spain, where they catch a soccer game, check out architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece, join a St. Jordi’s Day celebration and try Spain’s traditional dishes.

To read more, go to: Queen Latifah and Flavor Unit Team Up with Travel Channel for Mini-Series ‘The Best Place to Be’ – Shadow and Act

Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Teams Up with Fox for ‘The Scroll’ (Bible Stories Set in Present Day)

Queen Latifah (photo via shadowandact.com)

article via shadowandact.com

Queen Latifah is expanding her relationship with 20th Century Fox TV (via her Flavor Unit production company), teaming up with faith-based content producer Holly Carter via her Relevé Entertainment (“The Gospel” and “A Beautiful Soul”) to develop what is described as a bible-themed drama series titled “The Scroll.” 

Michael Elliot (“Brown Sugar,” “Just Wright”) will write and executive produce the project, which will reimagine some of the Bible’s most popular stories, but modernized and set in the present day.

The project shouldn’t be expected until 2018 or beyond.

To read more, go to: Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Teams Up with Fox for ‘The Scroll’ (Reimagining of Bible Stories Set in the Present Day) – Shadow and Act

VH1 Taps Ashanti, Keke Palmer, Amber Rose & More for Salt-N-Pepa Tribute Tonight on “Hip Hop Honors”

Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, DJ Spinderella and Cheryl ‘Salt’ James of Salt-N-Pepa attend the 2016 MTV Movie Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, Calif. (CHRISTOPHER POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR MTV)

article by Adelle Platon via billboard.com

VH1 is pushing out another stellar tribute for Salt-N-Pepa at this year’s Hip Hop Honors. The network announced on Friday (July 8) that Ashanti, Amber RoseKeke Palmer and Dreezy will be paying homage to the first all-female rap crew, comprised of Cheryl “Salt” JamesSandy “Pepa” Denton and DJ Spinderella.

The ladies will be shaking their thang (SNP pun intended) alongside other surprise guests for the evening’s tributes to fellow honorees Missy Elliott, Queen Latifah and Lil’ Kim. As previously announced, Pharrell, Timbaland and Nelly Furtado among others will salute Elliot while Common, Da Brat, Naughty By Nature and more will be on-hand to hail Queen Latifah.

Pharrell, Timbaland, Nelly Furtado & More to Honor Missy Elliott at VH1 Hip Hop Honors

VH1 Hip Hop Honors will land at New York’s David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center tonight, July 11, making its comeback after six years.

HEALTH: Queen Latifah Helps Mother Rita Owens Fight Heart Failure; Does Campaign with American Heart Association

Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, television producer and talk show host Queen Latifah looks mean in green in NBC’s adaptation of The Wiz Live! (she’s “The Wiz”), but offscreen Latifah goes red for her mother and the millions of people diagnosed with heart failure (HF). Queen Latifah and her mother Rita Owens, who suffers from heart failure, have joined the American Heart Association’s Rise Above Heart Failure campaign to let everyone know that with education, support and by being proactive with managing the condition, people can live with HF.

“My mom is stronger than anyone I’ve ever known. Growing up, when life got hard her strength helped pull us through,” the actress said in a recent PSA for the American Heart Association. In 2013, Owens was diagnosed with scleroderma, an incurable autoimmune disease that caused scar tissue to build up in her lungs, requiring her to be on oxygen 24/7.

Owens later was diagnosed with heart failure after passing out while teaching art at a New Jersey high school. The diagnosis changed Latifah and her mother’s relationship for the better Latifah told PEOPLE in an interview. “We’ve learned a new us. We’ve gotten a lot closer and we’ve learned each other on a whole different, deeper level.”

“I found myself becoming a recluse,” Owens said in the same interview about life after her HF diagnosis. “You have to understand your body is not processing the same way it was before. I started counting the things I can’t do instead of the things I can do. And I said, ‘Nope, this is not acceptable.’ ”

With the help of Latifah’s uplifting spirit, affirmations and attending church, “I started coming back,” Owens says. “I thank the Lord every day that I have that I can live with this, and that He put people in my life that told me so.”

Source: Queen Latifah Helps Mother Fight Heart Failure | BlackDoctor

VH1 Hip Hop Honors to Salute Salt-N-Pepa Featuring Spinderella

Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, DJ Spinderella and Cheryl ‘Salt’ James of Salt-N-Pepa at Warner Bros. Studios on April 9, 2016 in Burbank, Calif.  (FRAZER HARRISON/GETTY IMAGES)

article by Adelle Platon via billboard.com

Salt-N-Pepa featuring Spinderella will be in effect at VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail The Queens. The ceremony’s ladies-only lineup will feature a tribute to the legendary female rap group alongside previously announced honorees Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott.

VH1 Hip Hop Honors to Pay Tribute to Queen Latifah: Exclusive

Salt-N-Pepa — comprised of Cheryl “Salt” James and Sandy “Pepa” Denton alongside Spinderella — have been known for their timeless hits including 1988’s “Push It,” 1994’s En Vogue-assisted “Whatta Man” and 1993’s “Shoop.” The Queens-bred trio were also the first female rap group to achieve platinum status and have gone on to sell over 12 million albums. Salt-N-Pepa was also honored at the 2005 Hip Hop Honors.

Missy Elliott Named Honoree at VH1 Hip Hop Honors: Exclusive

Watch VH1 Hip Hop Honors return after its six-year hiatus when it airs live from New York on July 11 at 9 p.m. ET.