Today, March 18, is the 50th birthday of MC turned award winning actress Queen Latifah. Born Dana Owens in Newark, New Jersey, Queen Latifah found her place in hip-hop at the age of 18 when she began beat boxing and joined the Northern Jersery rap collective, Flavor Unit in 1988.
Other members of the original Flavor Unit include Apache and DJ Mark the 45 King.
Latifah was signed to Tommy Boy Records in 1989 and it was only up from there. Sporting an Afrocentric, feminist persona, Queen Latifah tapped into a small market of hip-hop because she rapped about issues that concern black women.
Lafitah rapped about everything from cat-calling to relationship issues. Assisted by the singles "Wrath of My Madness" and her pro-feminist anthem, "Ladies First" featuring Monie Love, Latifah dropped her debut album, All Hail the Queen in 1989. She followed that up with Nature of a Sista in 1991.
10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Queen Latifah
10. Queen Latifah's given name is Dana Elain Owens.
9. When Dana Elain Owens was a child, she wanted to be a marine biologist and a truck driver!
8. Queen Latifah's first appartment of her own was in the Bronx.
7. She released her first hip hop album 'All Hail The Queen', at just 19 years old.
6. She has three butterflies tattoos, two are located behind her ear and the other is on her left hand.
5. The first album Latifah ever bought was Princes 'Purple Rain'
4. She won a Grammy award for 'Best Solo Rap Performance'
in 1994 and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 'Chicago'
3. Queen Latifah got a 2-inch scar on her forehead by tripping during a childhood game of tag with her brother and banged her head at the bathroom wall.
2. The MC came up with the name 'Queen Latifah' because of her mother. Her mother raised her to believe that all women are queens and 'Latifah' because it means delicate, sensitive, kind and nice.
1. The talented Queen loves to play drums! In fact she gets a new drum set for every movie she works on.