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Queen Latifah is an icon living, hailing from Newark, New Jersey, where she first emerged on the music scene. A legendary artist, who transcended female rap, was given her start at the tender age of 18 years old after her demo tape caught the attention of Tommy Boy Records. In 1988, she released her first single, “Wrath of My Madness.” One year later, Latifah followed up with her debut album, All Hail the Queen, which featured the hit single, “Ladies First.” She’s since gone on to release seven genre-defying albums that feature hip hop, reggae, pop and jazz sounds eventually earning a Grammy for the classic 1993 anthem “U.N.I.T.Y.” that proves to have continuous commercial success. Don’t get it twisted. Queen Latifah is a trifecta of talents on her way to gaining a well-deserved EGOT status.

We’re celebrating a true Queen of entertainment as she celebrates 51 years of life with a look at some of her amazing, culture defining moments.

1. The Artist

There would be no Cardi B without this Tri-state queen. She empowered women at a time when women weren’t respected in the genre. Queen Latifah came into the industry as the powerful force she is while making a statement that still rings true today. Just as most success stories, she released her first album with great success, her second one flopped and the label dropped her. Latifah didn’t allow one bump in the road to stop her, and she continued to make five more albums that spoke to millions across the world.

2. The Culture

Queen Latifah starred in “Living Single,” as Khadijah James. The show is a cult classic with a gifted ensemble cast from Kim Fields, Kim Coles and Erika Alexander to accompany her bright talent onscreen.

The show literally inspired “Friends,” which mainstream talks about most.

The popular 90s sitcom, Living Single, helped redefine a generation and continued to promote the empowerment of Black people and women, which Queen Latifah had already began with her music.

3. The STAR

At this point, Queen Latifah has nothing left to prove. She has appeared in and produced some of the biggest, historic and cultural films of our time. From timeless Black films like Set It Off and Beauty Shop to classic musicals like Chicago and Hairspray.

What can’t she do?

Queen Latifah has appeared in more than 40 films, and her breakout role in Jungle Fever was only the beginning. She has since showcased her acting range from hilarious comedies like Bringing Down the House to her current drama series role in The Equalizer.

Latifah has worked with almost everyone in Hollywood such as Tiffany Haddish, Steve Martin, Halle Berry, Dolly Parton and Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Her presence onscreen is powerful just as it had been through her music, brief talk show hosting stint and naturally radiant personality that won the entertainment industry over since the beginning. We are wishing Queen Latifah continued success, love, light and an EGOT soon enough! Happy Birthday, Queen!

A Trifecta of Talent: Celebrating Queen Latifah’s 51st Lap Around the Sun  was originally published on