Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Queen Is In Da House

Ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for the Queen! No silly, not the Queen of England. I'm announcing the presence of Queen Latifah on my blog. It's kinda been a long time coming, I've been meaning to for some time but the day has come.
When I think of Dana Elaine Owens I must confess that I have mixed emotions. Lately she has said some things with which I am was not pleased. And to be honest, they are things that I would consider downright unnecessary. I recommend the old adage to all celebrities out there; if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all (especially if it's gonna end up sounding stupid and worst off making you look stupid).
I've been wanting to get that off my chest for a while and I must say I feel a little better because I finally did it. Now despite the Queen having rubbed me the wrong way on a couple of occasions, the strongest emotion that I feel when I think of her is one of pride. Yes, I am proud of Dana Owens. Yes, I admire her accomplishments. I am very happy for her successes in life. I am extremely proud to dub her a trailblazer. She has earned the right to be referred to as a pioneer. Latifah held her own in the rap world in the days when rap was considered a man's thing; a man's world; a man's domain. There are two women who I tip my hat to and think of with a deep sense of appreciation when it comes to the rap industry. Latifah is one and MC Lyte. These two women are at the top of my list as female pioneers of rap/hip-hop. What I like most about Latifah is the smooth transition she made from gangsta rapper to movie star to beauty icon to jazz singer. Latifah is multitalented, there's no doubt about it. And the thing is she makes it all look so easy. Personally I don't think that she gets as much credit as I deserve. Her choice of movies is commendable and to top it all off she carries her roles very well for someone whose background is not in acting. I am more a fan of her acting than I am of her music. It might come over as a little cheesy but the first DVD I've ever bought and owned is Bringing Down the House. I am a huge fan of Steve Martin and it was an absolute pleasure to watch the Queen hold her own right alongside him. I was twisted into a knot from laughing so much. Her performance was spot-on. Another movie that I totally enjoyed her in was Last Holiday. Again, not a great movie but it was a very nice well-put-together movie and Latifah's performance was worthy of good reviews. The ultimate performance for me to date though is her performance in Chicago. This role showed Latifah at her best. She was versatile, she was strong in the role and her performance was dynamic as well as that of the entire cast. It is a marvelous movie and every single cast member put in an award-worthy performance. It's a movie that will forever go down in my mind as one of the very best of all times. Chicago is definitely worthy of its 6 Oscar wins as well as the additional 34 wins and 54 nominations! I have read some of the reviews and comments refuting the success of the movie and I disagree with them all. It is a fantastic movie. Latifah has a number of truly good movies under her belt. She has made truly smart choices throughout her career since her transition. I utterly enjoyed her in Taxi and The Bone Collector (with Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie). I aslo liked her in Barbershop 2: Back In Business, The Cookout and Beauty Shop. She has a very acute sense of comedic timing. And you don't ever want her to have to go all Bruce Lee on your ass! She does that very convincingly. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown where she voices Ellie (The female Mammoth) is high on my list of recommended must see movies. Other films of note include Stranger Than Fiction (with Emma Thompson), Hairspray, Mad Money (Diane Keaton & Katie Holmes), What Happens In Vegas and The Secret Life of Bees (Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson & Alicia Keys). She will reprise her role as Ellie in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs which is now in post-production and is scheduled for release on July 1, 2009. She is widely known for her role as Khadijah James on FOX's sitcom Living Single. A role she played from 1993 - 1998. Her performance in Set It Off back in 1996 alongside Jada Pinkett Smith, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise is still talked about today and was the perfect way to launch her big-screen career. With this debut performance, Latifah let the world know that she had arrived; she was here and all up in your face, she was serious and meant business! She had come to make her mark on the industry. Latifah is one of the hardest working women in the business today. She's always busy and she's never afraid to take the plunge. This is evidenced by the numerous awards she has one. Her work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe Award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, one Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination. In total she has had 16 wins and 50 nominations to date. She was the first female rapper to be nominated for an Academy Award. Tidbits: When she was a teenager one of her cousins nicknamed Latifah which means delicate and sensitive in Arabic. In 1994 she won a Grammy for Best Solo Rap Performance for U.N.I.T.Y. On 4 January 2006 she became the first hip-hop artist to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Her favorite role to date (2008) is Cleopatra Sims from Set It Off. In 1991 she discovered hip-hop group The New Style, who later changed their name to Naughty by Nature.
Latifah will return to her hip-hop roots with her seventh studio album which is not yet titled but is set for release in December 2008. Latifah is a celebrity spokesperson for CoverGirl cosmetics, Curvation ladies underwear, Pizza Hut and Jenny Craig. And just to prove that although she said a couple stupid things, that she's a smart person, here are few of my favorite Personal Quotes: I think it's important to create projects as an actor rather than wait for them. I love being able to take an idea and sell it to a studio. I really don't know how to be anyone else, and whenever I try to be anyone else, I fail miserably. Or I disappoint myself. It doesn't build my self-esteem, and it doesn't help me grow me at all. It was a very vulnerable time going from being insecure about my body and who I am to becoming comfortable with me. I had to tune out what the hell everybody else had to say about who I was. When I was able to do that, I felt free. [On being considered a role model] There's no way I can represent for everyone. I can't represent for all women or all big women or all black women. It's important for people not to make celebrities their source of who they should be in life. I can't take on the pressure of being perfect. Nobody is. I have only one request of you Dana; keep doin' what you're doin'; it's working and I like it. Girlfriend is looking so damn good, and smooth, and sexy and mmm mmm mmm...