In Queen Latifah’s new interview with Variety, the 45-year-old rapper-turned-actor-turned-TV host-turned mogul, opens up about the beginning of her career (with incite from actor Michael K. Williams, BET’s Debra Lee and business partner), taking on Bessie and the non-stop speculation about her sexuality. See a few excerpts below.
From the very beginning of her career, expanding beyond music:
I felt like if I couldn’t say I was the best rapper — male or female — I wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. So it was always about trying to expand from the beginning, be it musically, business-wise, or other opportunities.
The resistance she received in the 90’s for being a rapper, transitioning to acting:
Actors did not like it. A lot of them talked a lot of smack (at the time) about rappers coming in and taking all the gigs.
Being able to connect with the life of Bessie Smith:
I could relate to crawling up out of a bottle. I could relate to being depressed. I could connect to a lot of different experiences that she had, whether it was loneliness, whether it was being hugely successful, (experiencing) heartbreak, love, being in different relationships, being in more than one relationship at one time. All these things made sense to me.
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