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If I only focused on Queen Latifah’s rap exploits I’d miss out on like 66% of what she does. Dana is busy woman; she is not only a rapper, but an actor and a record producer. For that reason, I dedicated some time to finding out about Dana Owens’ performing career.

Even though she sang in her church choir as a child, Queen Latifah (or at that time, Dana Owens) didn’t have her first public performance until parochial school when she sang a version of “Home” from the musical The Wiz (Oh Stephanie Mills, there is no escaping you).

Just because Dana sang throughout high school doesn’t mean she was some soft choir chick; the girl has always been tall and tough; in fact, at 5’10” she dominated her high school basketball court as her school’s power forward. Even as a freshman Dana attracted an audience while singing and rapping in her high school’s bathrooms. As a junior she even formed a musical group called Ladies Fresh, with her friends Landy D and Tangy B.

Focusing mainly on her musical career throughout the 80’s, Queen Latifah didn’t officially being her acting career till 1991. Queen Latifah began her film career starring in movies like Juice, Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and House Party 2. At around that time she also made reoccurring appearances on one of the best television sitcoms ever: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, BUT found even more TV success in 1993 when she landed a lead role in Living Single, she even wrote and recorded the show’s theme song.

The success of her show led Dana to supporting roles in the films like Set It Off, Living Out Loud, and The Bone Collector where she performs alongside actors Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Although she achieved some notable success in film, it isn’t until starring in 2002’s Chicago as Matron “Mama” Morton that Queen Latifah receives critical acclaim by earning a nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Although Latifah didn’t win the Oscar, her co-star, Catherine Zeta-Jones, did and the film itself won the Best Picture Oscar.

Interesting Fact:

Queen Latifah is one of THREE hip-hop artists to EVER receive an Academy Award nomination in an acting category (Eminem doesn’t count). The others are Will Smith twice, once for Best Actor in Ali and once for The Pursuit of Happyness, and Mark Wahlberg (Hahahaha he totally counts) for Best Supporting Actor in “The Departed”.