There is no doubt that ladies should always be first and admittedly Queen Latifah (37) is the only queen of rap to triumphantly make it big in that game called Hollywood. Remember the days where she played 'Kadhijah James' that savvy magazine editor on Fox's 1990's sitcom "Living Single?" That was an entertaining show which lasted for 5 seasons. Even before that she had a minor role as an MC in "Juice" (1992) starring a young Omar Epps and the late Tupac Shakur. But, if you allow us to take a step even further back we can inform you that Queen Latifah's achievements started a few years prior to that.
Much respected when she came onto the rap scene in the late 1980's the Queen had an instant hit with her 1989 single "Ladies First." It was a clear message stating the power of women in the world and their abilities and it was great. The video also depicted a confident Queen in her stance and the way she spit her lyrics. 1993 saw the release of her 3rd album "Black Reign" which included the song "U.N.I.T.Y." This single was a big hit which gained Latifah a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance.
As her career continued to expand Latifah took on more movie roles. In 1996 she starred opposite Jada Pinkett Smith and Vivica A. Fox in "Set It Off" where she played a female bank robber. In 1999 "The Queen Latifah Show" came to life, but didn't last very long. But, no worries because then came "Brown Sugar" and "Chicago" in 2002. In "Chicago" Latifah was a fierce 'Matron Mama Morton' and rightfully so, she received a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar nomination.
Queen Latifah has also done comedic roles in movies such as "Taxi" (2004), "Barbershop 2: Back in Business" (2004) and "Beauty Shop" (2005). She was also great in a semi-comedic film called "Last Holiday" which probably didn't get as much box office attention as it could have, but the films message of how happy endings are possible was clear. Certainly, this is one to Netflix along with "Hairspray" (2007) where you can catch Latifah belting out tunes that show she is not only a rapper and actress, but also a divalicious singer.
Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg and Queen Latifah have been exceptional when it comes to making that rapper to actor career change; however, there are other rappers who have made a great transition as well from spittin' on the mic to the bright lights of tinseltown.
Honorable mentions go to the following rappers who have made waves not only on TV, but in movies as well:
Ice Cube (38) - notably for "Boyz 'N the Hood" (1991), "Higher Learning" (1995), "Friday" (1995), "Three Kings" (1999), "Barbershop" (2002) "Barbershop 2: Back In Business" (2004), and "Are We There Yet" (2005).
Eve (29) - notably for "Barbershop" (2002) and "Eve" (her sitcom on the UPN network in 2003).
Mos Def (34) - notably for "Brown Sugar" (2002), "Something The Lord Made" (2004), "Lackawanna Blues" (2005), "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" (2005), "16 Blocks" (2006), and "Be Kind Rewind" (2008).
Tell us what you think of rappers who give up spittin' on the mic for acting on the small or big screen.
Story by Doshka Harvey
Starpulse.com contributing writer