Queen Latifah has been pushing the culture forward since her rap career started in 1989. When she wasn’t empowering women with the anthem, “U.N.I.T.Y.”, she was showing us how to have healthy relationships on her hit TV show Living Single.
Queen Latifah has played countless roles throughout her career. She has shown true range as an actress. Some of her most notable characters have been the bank-robbing lesbian in Set it Off, the Chicago beautician in Beauty Shop, a famous Blues singer in Bessie, and much more. When she’s not acting on stage or our TV screens, she’s pouring back into her community by taking on housing projects in her former Newark stomping grounds.
Last night Queen Latifah’s latest action series Equalizer premiered on CBS. Differing from most of her comedic roles, she steps out in as a no-nonsense vigilante that’s not to be messed with. The action-packed crime drama series follows single mother of one, Robyn McCall (played by Latifah), who uses her former CIA training to help people in need. Essentially she plays a modern-day guardian angel for people who are defenseless.
With over 30 years in the entertainment industry, Queen Latifah has played just about every character you could think of. From the funny girl to the gun-wielding detective, her time on screen has been entertaining to watch. There’s a lot of material to pull from but in honor of The Equalizer premier, were counting down 5 of her most note-worthy roles.
1. QUEEN LATIFAH AT THE 1990 MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDSSource:Getty
Shortly after Queen Latifah hit the music scene, she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1990. This was the first opportunity the world had to fall in love with her as a musician. During the 90’s, Latifah rivaled the men in the male-dominated music industry. She used her voice to demand respect for the women and in some cases, it worked.
2. QUEEN LATIFAH AND THE LIVING SINGLE CASTSource:Getty
Queen Latifah played khadijah on the hit TV series Living Single. The premise followed 6 Black successful friends living in Brooklyn, NY. It was revealed that this very formula birthed the concept of Friends, a group of white friends living in New York City. Although Living Single never received the accolades that Friends did, it was one of the few series that documented successful, unproblematic, twenty-somethings navigating through life.
3. QUEEN LATIFAH IN “SET IT OFF”Source:Getty
Set It Off might be one of Queen Latifah’s most memorable roles. In 1996 the actress played Cleo, a gun-toting lesbian who thought robbing a few banks would be her key out of poverty. This film came out during a time where Black cinema was at it’s finest. We got classic movies like Dead Presidents, Belly, Friday, and more. Set It Off was one of the only action-packed films that featured Black women living a life of crime.
4. QUEEN LATIFAH IN “HAIRSPRAY”Source:Getty
Queen Latifah gave a stellar performance during the 2007 ShoWest – New Line “Hairspray” Presentation in Las Vegas. Roles like this helped Latifah transition into mainstream Hollywood. Her commercial success landed her roles that positioned her as an award-winning actress.
5. QUEEN LATIFAH IN THE EQUALIZERSource:Getty
Academy Award nominee and multi-hyphenate Queen Latifah starred in The Equalizer, a crime drama series that follows single mother Robyn McCall, a former CIA operative who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn.
Although the show premiered after the Super Bowl, it will move to its regular Sunday (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) time period on Feb. 14.