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February 02, 1994 - Image 14

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-02

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I

0

S 9

U Cpture the ike Spirit Contest
More Great Entries

With music, TV and film success
at 23, Queen Latifah has a lot to
say -and people are listening.

HEIDI HALLECK, Syracuse U. "Greetings from the 200+ member
Syracuse U. Marching Band!"

AUAM HURUWIT, norstra U. uounle exposure of Jennifer
Engmann of the Flying Dutchwomen softball team."

By obSopeUnvrst imsSClfoaStaeULs Ag

ueen Latifah seems to be sitting
on top of the world. At 23, she
has accomplished more than most
artists hope to in a lifetime.
Her list of achievements includes her
own record label, management compa-
ny, video store, platinum albums and a
feature film role in last fall's My Life.
Now the Queen says she is glad to take
on yet another challenge in a long list of
career goals - television.
"I've always been into a million differ-
ent things at one time," she says. "This
is no more difficult than being in high
school, running through the streets of
New York and playing on a basketball
team. That took the same amount of
time, but now I'm just focused on dif-
ferent things."
One of the main things she's focused
on these days is her role in the Fox TV
sitcom, Living Single. In the show,
Latifah plays magazine editor Khadijah,
a tough, outspoken entrepreneur who
shares a Brooklyn brownstone with two
other successful women.
These characters, along with
Khadijah's best friend from college, offer
each other advice on work, friendship
and, most importantly, the opposite sex.
The result is a stylish blend of humor
and sincerity that appeals to both teen-
age and adult audiences. Latifah sees
many of her character's personality
traits in herself. "Khadijah and I do

have a lot in common," she says.
"We're both successful. We're also both
homegirls from around the way but
straight-up professionals at work."
Even when playing a part, Latifah's
down-to-earth attitude comes through in
her performance. "My own integrity
flows through my character," she says,
"so I won't do anything I don't agree
with on TV. I made that clear [to the
producers] before there was even a pilot."
Latifah says her character's no-non-
sense approach to life appeals to her
own sensibilities, but the show has not
met with equal praise among critics.
Although Living Single has garnered
high ratings in its first season, some
television writers have accused the show
of male-bashing.
"People are watching the show,"
Latifah says defensively, "so obviously
they're not upset. It started by some guy
writing an article, and he was basically
nit-picking. He wasn't looking at any of
the good things we do on the show -
the humor in it or the camaraderie
between the characters. He picked out
one line in the pilot to write about. And
so what? If a guy does something
wrong, then we'll talk about his ass."
Latifah, whose real name is Dana
Owens, has never been afraid to speak
her mind about men, especially in her
music. Her first two Grammy-nominat-
ed albums, All Hail the Queen and

Nature of a Sista' (Tom- "Every girl is n
my Boy), both contain it's a lame excu
raps that speak our against pers to say they
the abuse of women. Her hos because the
latest release, Black Reign make them righ
(Motown), is no excep- Although La
tion. want to be labe
In "U.N.I.T.Y.," the al- artist, many of
bum's first single, Latifah deal with the p
issues her own call to lence and mi
arms for women to band encountered in
together to overcome "Music can b
oppression. During the she says. "I just
song's forceful chorus, she of artists don't
sings, "Who u callin' a what's going o
bitch?/U.N.I.T.Y./You people to respe
got to let 'em know/You each other som
ain't a bitch or a ho." Although she
"I wrote 'U.N.I.T.Y.' a "common ser
because I was sick of what fans have identi
I was seeing," she says. "I for the rap and1
was at a Greek picnic at a says she is wil
college in Philadelphia a now. "I'm too
couple of years ago with because I still d
some friends. We were the time. I'm st
sitting on our cars watch- For the mom
ing people go by, and she is looking f
some guys from a frater- after Living Sing
nity were sitting across season. "I lovei
the street from us. over a crowd,"
"Every time a girl $15,000 in a ni
walked by them, they'd your ass a little
pick her up off the ground ence on your t
and all the guys would be feelin' her up. due. You've ear
If she cursed them out, they'd say 'F**k When asked
you, bitch,' like she was in the wrong. if she had to p
Some of the girls were actually kicking or singing - sh
and punching on the guys to leave them "Neither," sh
alone. grin. "Little kid
"It made me wonder where their heads whether to cal
were at," she says. "They claimed they Khadijah. I like
were supposed to be in a fraternity. I want- to follow th
ed them to tell me exactly what they were instincts. If Is
trying to represent. I was just waiting
for them to try that s**t on me
and give me a reason to fight
back. I'd like to see these
brothers in the Greek
system try to uphold
what they're sup-
posed to be up- **** aout u
holding."
Like many
females in rap
music today,
Latifah says
she uses her
rhymes as a
tool to raise bare
consciousness ethan ilease.
about women's "IT.Y.," the al- 4
issues. "I'm sick humts crowning glory,
of watching guys expresses her disgust for men dreams.
look at what these who treat women like pieces From
other knuckleheads of meat. Blending rap and safer se
are doing and support- hiphop tchorus elign
ing them like we some maecyc man rn-s
kinda bitch or ho," she says. think twice b Hoc

ot like that. And I think
se for a lot of these rap-
only call girls bitches or
y act like that. It doesn't
ht."
tifah says she does not
eled as an issue-oriented
the songs on Black Reign
roblems of racism, vio-
isogyny that she has
her community.
e a great teaching tool,"
address what I see. A lot
open their eyes to see
n out there. I just want
ct one another and show
e common courtesy."
considers herself simply
nsist," many of Latifah's
fied her as the matriarch
hip-hop scene, a title she
ling to brush aside for
young for that image
on't know what to do all
ill growing up myself."
ent, though, Latifah says
orward to a concert tour
gle finishes filming for the
the challenge of winning
she says. "Say you make
ght. If you have to bust
harder to get the audi-
:eam, then payment [is]
zed your money."
which she would choose
ick one career - acting
he takes a long pause.
e says finally with a big
1s see me and don't know
ill me Dana, Latifah or
that. So far I've learned
rough with my own
succeed, well then hey,
thank you." U

JANUAJOY/FERIUARY 1994 U. Magazine * 25

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1994

U. Magazine * 25

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