On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

“Love a Black woman from infinity to infinity….”
All hail the Queen: Photo by Robert Maxwell for
The New York Times

Is Queen Latifah gay?

Her flattering and attentive profile in this past weekend’s Sunday New York Times Magazine detailed many aspects of her professional life and career: Over thirty films, two years as host of her own talk show, Grammy-nominated albums, an Oscar nod, her landmark endorsement with Cover Girl, a thriving management business.

But it also raised the question that has attended the Queen, aka Dana Owens, and her reign, almost as long as she’s been in the public eye: Is she a lesbian?

From Latifah’s perspective, what she does in her private life isn’t anyone’s business, and, utilizing the well-worn neither-denying-nor-confirming language we’ve heard from (until recently) Clay Aiken, Ricky Martin, and other celebrities rumored to be gay, she says as much, in the paragraph that raises, then closes, the issue:

One topic of persistent speculation on the Web is Queen Latifah’s sexuality, particularly a supposed romance with a female trainer. She has never addressed her relationships publicly and was in no mood to start. “I don’t have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life,” she said. “You don’t get that part of me. Sorry. We’re not discussing it in our meetings, we’re not discussing it at Cover Girl. They don’t get it, he doesn’t get it” — she gestured upstairs, toward Compere’s office — “nobody gets that. I don’t feel like I need to share my personal life, and I don’t care if people think I’m gay or not. Assume whatever you want. You do it anyway.”

That’s that flava….Queen Latifah clearly has the freedom to say, or not say, whatever she wants about her sexual orientation. As she makes clear, these are immensely personal issues. But they’re business ones, too.

For example, in her many film roles, with the exception, perhaps, of director F. Gary Gray’s 1996 Set It Off, right, Latifah has always played decidedly heterosexual characters. Part of the calculus any closeted entertainer must certainly make is, What will happen to my career if I come out?

If Latifah announced she was gay, would the movie-going public ever accept her in straight romantic, or other, roles again? Would they believe her, singing love songs, on her albums? Despite the increasing public acceptance for homosexuals in many areas of life, this is still untested territory.

Also, for what reason would she announce her sexuality, if gay? To satisfy public curiosity? Well, what would she get out of that? In my impression, closeted entertainers who come out do so either under external pressure, or from an internal desire to be transparent about the issue. Or both.

Neither force appears to be driving Latifah in her life, career, or public statements, and I’m thinking that whomever’s eyes Latifah looks into at night are for hers, only.

[via Hip-Hop Crunch]


1 comment so far ↓

#1 Dan Tres OMi on 10.09.08 at 7:36 am

I think they would. For some reason, American society finds lesbians chic. I think Latifah is loved enough by the mainstream that they would not even flinch. of course, some die hard hip hop fans will be upset and those on the far right will have more dirt to throw, but all in all, her career will be fine.

To be honest, I don’t have an issue with it but if you don’t confirm or deny, then you are.

when in the Navy we were told that if we were asked about carrying nukes our response was to be “we can neither confirm nor deny…”

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