Queen Latifah on Her Sexuality: Assume Whatever you Want

LatifahMissed this Alex Witchel profile of Queen Latifah (who was brilliant as Gwen Ifill in last weekend’s Biden-Palin SNL debate skit) in the NYT.

Writes Witchel: “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.”

Says Latifah: “I don’t have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life. 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 [her manager and childhood friend Shakim] 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.”

Her Highness Still Rules [nyt]

Comments

  1. Derrick from Philly says

    I don’t know.

    As long as you don’t make anti-gay statements in order to stay in the closet, I don’t feel you should be “outed”. People like Queen Latifa, Jodie Foster, Ricky Martin, etc. don’t have to publically join the gay civil rights movement…just don’t fight it.

  2. yoshi says

    Oh lord… maybe its because I am from minnesota but you are all asses. Its her personal life – get over it. I respect and support her decision to keep her personal life private. I’ve always found Latifa to have an air of confidence about her and comfortable with who she is. I always loved her performances because of that quality about her. Unlike Clay who is a coward. Clay won’t doesn’t have an once of confidence and it shows at every performance and every interview he gives.

  3. says

    To my mind, the only people who are allowed to criticize Queen Latifah for her no-comment rule are other out celebrities. Only they can claim to have done something that Latifah seems unwilling to do (assuming she is gay, of course).

    The thing is, Queen Latifah (if she’s gay) is likely as out as I am. Which means, her friends know, her family knows, those she works with know. No, she hasn’t taken out space on the cover of PEOPLE magazine to announce her sexuality to the world, but then again, neither have I. The fact that PEOPLE magazine doesn’t give a rat’s ass if I’m gay doesn’t really figure in here. Because the truth of my life is that when I fly, no one at the airport knows my name or anything about me, and they certainly don’t know that I’m gay. Whether or not I would tell them if given the choice is moot; I enjoy the luxury of anonymity.

    If Queen Latifah were an instrument of hate, that would be a different story. But she’s very kind to her gay fans and has never issued the kind of angry denial that Clay Aiken used to be famous for. She’s one of the good guys — Long Live the Queen.

  4. Michael W. says

    I love Queen Latifah and she’s exactly right! It’s nobody’s business. Everyone, the gay “community” included, should keep their collective noses out of other people’s bedrooms.

  5. rae says

    i just think it’s sad. if she’s been with her partner as long as people have said she’s been with her (10 years), i think it’s fair to call them a family. i don’t think anyone should be so private that feel like they have to hide their family.

  6. crispy says

    She’s probably just afraid to come out because Leland Frances would demand (in all caps no less) that she donate all her money to fight Proposition 8.

  7. bosie says

    she is awesome, leave her alone….Last year i saw her in West-Hollywood …I think she was Xmas shopping..she got ont he same elevator i was on and she was on the cell…talking to someone, I think her girl…I assume this by the things she was saying. Its cool

  8. JeffRob says

    Love, love, love Latifah. Everything she does is magic.

    This is unfortunate, though, because if she really is gay she knows how much it would help our cause, especially in the hip-hop community, for her to be open and honest. No one needs to tell her that.

    She’s decided her privacy is more important, and that’s respectable. But unfortunate.

    (Unless she’s actually straight, in which case you GO girl!)

  9. says

    I am 100% supportive of Latifah.

    The things that bother me about closeted celebrities are:

    1. They deny that they are gay. Like so many have done.

    2. They hypocritically say their personal lives are off limits, but engage in discussions of other topics related to their personal lives – like Anderson Cooper.

    Queen Latifah does neither of those things. She simply works as a performer and leaves the rest of her life out of it.

    I applaud her to a degree for not going on with the media and public obsession with entertainers’ personal lives. Appreciate the talent (or lack of) and move on.

  10. Derrick from Philly says

    I understand and respect the view of PATRICK NYC & RAE. We agree to disagree peaceably. I’m glad gay folks don’t get as emotional as we used to on this issue back in the 80s & 90s–the issue of “coming out”.

    Now, Larry Craig, 50Cent and Donnie McClurkin are a different story.

  11. Tim says

    Look, the black community is much more homophobic than other groups, so people within it who declare they are gay face far more hostility.

    That said, I still don’t have any time for closet cases who parse their answers and dance around the truth. I also think the media should not protect her. Speculating about whether or not someone is gay is not libel. This is just more gossip — if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen … and get married to a nice man. =P

  12. Matty says

    I agree with Red Seven, I think she knows who she is and what she’s about and so do those close to her which is ALL that matters.

    I don’t understand why the gay community gangs up on those that want their private life to remain private. I’m gay but I don’t feel I have a need to put a neon sign on my head advertising it or telling people I don’t know about it.

    It’s her business what she does and who she does it with, it’s not like she’s going around saying she’s straight and putting up a facade like Aiken did, so who cares that she wants to keep her personal life to herself.

  13. Eric says

    Why does someone have to go around shouting they are gay to make you people happy. I live my life just the way she does. My private like is private and no ones business. The gay community needs to grow up.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    “Look, the black community is much more homophobic than other groups, so people within it who declare they are gay face far more hostility.”

    Fact or perception, TIM?

  15. says

    Being honest about the simple FACT that you’re gay isn’t giving anyone access to your bedroom.

    I was reminded of this recently when a friend brought up meeting Johnny Mathis. Johnny Mathis has been a singing legend since forever. A good number of years back he acknowledged the fact that he was gay. Very simply. Very straigthforwardly. There was no invasion of his bedroom, nor were there any “scandalous details” of “his secret gay life.” As a matter of fact there hasn’t been any scandal about Johnny Mathis EVER And this goes all the way back to the dawn of time when everyone knew perfectly well that he was gay — but unlike Clay Aiken a singing genius. Had there been any scandal you can rest assurred “Confidential” magazine — which was blatantly racist — would have had screaming headlines about it. But they didn’t. Why? Because Johnny Mathis led a prvate lie.

    It’s not hard to do, people. He was, after all, a singer. Not an actor. Not a “personality.” All he did was sing (beautifully) and nothing more was ever asked of him.

    Dana sings too (rather well when she actually sings as opposed to rap) and she acts too (also rather well) and that opens a larger door for selling herself as a “personality.” It gets even larger when she shills for Jenny Craig and “Cover Girl” cosmetics. So she gets all huffy about people stating the obvious.

    Cry me a river, Dana!

    The Joe Cocker version

  16. says

    I never understood the need for the gay community to demand that those in the public eye must announce their sexuality to the world. Some people don’t feel comfortable assuming a mantle of responsibility. I applaud those that choose to come out in that manner and respect those that do not. I for one don’t go to work and make a big annoucement. If someone is curious, they’ll ask. If they do, I’m honest about it. That being said, being ‘gay’ is not the singular aspect of my life.

    Now, had a person in the public eye say or do harm to the LGBT community, then outing them would be of no issue for me. Showing those hypocrites for who they really are is warranted. In fact, I relish it everytime an anti-gay republican queer gets taken down; and there sure seems to be a lot of them.

  17. John in Manhattan says

    Such sad self-loathers on here crowing on about how Latifah’s gayness should be off limits. Pathetic. Dana perpetuates the myth that there’s something wrong with being gay each and every time she refuses to acknowledge it. No, she’s not legislating against gay equality but she’s a sad head case nonetheless.

  18. says

    To: John in Manhattan

    “Dana perpetuates the myth that there’s something wrong with being gay every time she refuses to acknowledge it.”

    Perhaps … and yet, she could also be acknowledging the fact that coming out of the closet on the cover of a national magazine reaps both rewards and consequences – and perhaps for her, the latter outweigh the former. And were you in her shoes, you might even agree.

    Let her alone; it’s an election year, and we have bigger fish to fry.

  19. Brendan says

    Please, people, you all are crazy bitches.

    Just because Dana doesn’t want her life public, doesn’t mean she hates herself or wants to hide who she is. It just means she doesn’t want to talk about it and have the entire world know. I think she isn’t exactly just standing there doing nothing, and she isn’t being negative or calling GLBTs names. If she can contribute to our cause without having to have her personal life in the front pages, then I have more respect for her.

    What has Lance Bass done for us lately? Sure, he’s on some reality TV show. He can’t even keep a boyfriend longer than several months.

    In some cases, like Matthew Mitcham, it’s a positive role model. He has discipline (being a trampolinist before a diver), in a long-term commitment, and has yet to cash in on his “fame”.

    Not everyone wears their sexuality on their sleeves, though.

  20. james says

    ok, she’s gay. so simple.

    when people here talk about “the gay community” why do i get a sense that it’s always ‘over there’ as opposed to ‘us?’ some of you can’t even stand to be part of it. why?

  21. David R. says

    I think it was the late 80s when The Queen (the real one) performed at the after-party of the SF AIDS Walk. This was a daring move for a young African American performer. And she did it with class and style. Read the NYT article and you’ll see that she’s the real deal.

  22. B-rod says

    She doesn’t need to come out and say it because her non-answer sounds like the defensive, angry lesbian that she is.

    And for the rest of you self-loathing closet cases, just because some says they’re gay doesn’t mean they are inviting intrusion into their “personal life” unless they feel ashamed that anyone knows a thing about they’re personal life. And she’s wearing a lot of shame, plus she’s probably worried her career will take a hit. Coward.

  23. Sean says

    Y’know, she is still going to live her life the best way she can for herself despite anyone’s opinions, one way or the other. The bottom line here is perception based on your own experiences. I myself am comfortable in my own skin, “out and proud” if you prefer. Dana (Queen Latifah) isn’t hurting anyone with her choice to keep her private life out of her professional one. Her sexuality in no way informs her work life…if yours does, good for you. It’s enough that she has such visibility in her work to begin with. Why is it so detrimental to some of you that cameras be her personal life too?
    She’s never once expressed a negative anything towards the queer community…so why are you doing yourselves and her the disservice of being the opposite?
    Lighten up good people, and recognize when to pick and choose your battles.

  24. steve says

    David Ehrenstein is completely, totally, 100% correct.

    Seriously, people – if she were straight, would she give such a convoluted answer?

    C’mon now – of course not!!

    When’s the last time you heard a straight person asked that question (Are you gay?) and give a paragraph for an answer?

    I’ll tell you – NEVER!!!

    And yes, heterosexuals DO wear their sexuality on their sleeves everyday.

    And we ALL have to deal with it.

    In magazines, newspapers, websites, TV shows, movies, radio programs, books, and music. And more. Each and every day.

    Thankfully, the tide IS turning.

    But not thanks to “friends” and “allies” like QL.

  25. patrick nyc says

    Sadly SEAN while I agree it is her business and we should pick our battles, the biggest one being getting Obama in the White House, her not saying she is gay is just enforcing the stereotype that gay is bad.

    Like it or not, she is a public figure, something she chose. Being gay is not something she chose, just something she is choosing not to own.

  26. Jim says

    Call me odd, but I really respect her boundaries regarding her personal life. It truly makes me admire her more–the focus is solely on the talent which, as an ENTERTAINER, is the gift she’s sharing with the world. Why can’t that be enough? Frankly I’m sooo tired of the whole tabloid/sensationalistic life sharing of the majority of attention-seeking “celebrities” around today. An author isn’t call upon to lay bare all aspects of his or her life, why should a singer/actor be expected to? Because of the all-too-common cases who have no sense of separation in their lives, and the ever-invasive media, have conditioned society to belive it’s OWED. Bullshit. Her boundaries are clear, I haven’t seen her deviate from them thru her career, the emphasis publicly has always been on entertaining. Go Queen!

  27. Manny says

    Queen Latifah has never been anything but gay-friendly, so it boggles my mind how she can garner so much hate, pity and judgement from gay folk.

    What If she is gay (and do we really know?)? Big deal- she doesn’t want to talk about it. She doesn’t owe the public, gay or straight, anything. its her right to come out if and when she’s ready and to keep needling her about it is really tacky . Men and women all over the country live their lives in the closet and when they decide to come out, we welcome them. But when its someone famous, then suddenly they’re obligated to come out and represent us, wave the rainbow flag and be our role models. Well why don’t WE REPRESENT US? Why don’t we be the visible role models that we seem to need so badly? Maybe we can be role models to her. Because its fairly clear to see that trying to shame the Queen is not going to work.

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