Born Dana Elaine Owens on March 18, 1970, the premier female rap star is better known by her stage name Queen Latifah. Latifah began her career in the 1980s, and is considered a pioneer. Her career has also encompassed acting and writing. She continues to be a force in today's world as a spokeswoman for companies such as Cover Girl and Curvations. Her 1999 memoir, Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman, was a bestseller, hailed as a self-esteem manual for young women.

Young Dana Owens grew up in Newark, New Jersey. At age 8, she was dubbed Latifah, which means “gentle” in Arabic, by a cousin; she adopted “Queen” later. In 1987, she began beatboxing for the rap group Ladies Fresh. At the age ...

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