News | Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah Brings Us Backstage at the Grammy Marriage Ceremonies: VIDEO

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Queen Latifah is taking viewers of her talk show backstage at the Grammy marriage ceremonies before and after she officiated the weddings of 33 gay and straight couples at the awards show on Sunday night.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Meanwhile, there is lots of talk this week about Latifah's open closet and her own sexuality — a topic she had to know would come up again around the Grammy segment given its persistence over the years.

Said Latifah in 2008 in an interview with Alex Witchel in the NYT:

"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."

She repeated that sentiment more recently in 2012 with regard to reports that she came out at Long Beach Pride in 2012:

"That definitely wasn’t the case,” she tells EW. “I’ve never dealt with the question of my personal life in public. It’s just not gonna happen.”

LatifahNotes Rich Juzwiak at Gawker:

"Latifah's public profile exists somewhere between gay ally and actual gay...Latifah's public relationship with her sexuality is fascinating. She lives right on the precipice of coming out...Latifah speaks in that kind of code when discussing her sexuality, which there would be no issue with discussing were she straight. She is emphatically hiding something. This makes her, effectively, openly closeted."

John Aravosis at Americablog notes a "furor" at Latifah from some journalists over the fact that she refuses to come out of the closet, adding:

One big problem with Latifah’s position is that she’s sending a message that there is a problem.  She’s signaling that there’s something wrong with being gay.

People can defend Latifah’s choice, claiming that she has a right to privacy.  And Latifah can talk all she wants about her desire to protect her “private life.”  But straight Americans – and particularly celebrities – don’t invoke the right to privacy when you simply inquire about the well-being of their spouse.  And they don’t rail about their “private life” when you ask, “how goes the girlfriend?”....

...The only time celebrities try to hide who they’re dating is when it’s someone else’s spouse, an underage child, an animal, a corpse, or a gay.

What do you think? Was it the height of hypocrisy for a closeted Latifah to be officiating gay weddings and declaring "love is love" as she does in the video below, and yet send a signal by refusing to discuss her own orientation?

Check out her behind-the-scenes video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. She has never ever said a cross word about the community, nor does she advocate against us. Leave her alone.

    Posted by: Rich in DC | Jan 28, 2014 9:05:48 AM


  2. We are ALL entitled to OUR truth. We have no idea who celebrities are sometimes protecting besides themselves when they wish to keep part of their life private. We are entitled to the public persona of Queen Latifah, not her private one. Love her for what she does, not who she is - case closed.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Jan 28, 2014 9:19:42 AM


  3. Jesus Christ, Latifah, no one is asking you if you're into rimming. There's NOTHING PRIVATE about being gay. Is heterosexuality a "private" matter? She's pathetic.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | Jan 28, 2014 9:22:48 AM


  4. When I watched on Sunday, I thought this was actually her own way of coming out. Brava!

    Posted by: suz orman | Jan 28, 2014 9:31:47 AM


  5. She wants to participate in celebbrations of equality that are the result of the hard fight by brave and courageous people, but she isn't one of them. If she wants to stay in the closet that is just fine - but then step aside and let someone who fought the fight have the privilege of being at the center of the celebrations. It would have rocked for Edie Windsor to have been there in Queen's place.

    Posted by: Riffsf | Jan 28, 2014 9:56:04 AM


  6. @MARCUS - Is it so unreasonable for a celebrity to ask that her private life be kept private? I can easily think of a dozen reasons why she would want this, starting with a partner who really, really wishes not to be in the spotlight.

    She has insisted on privacy. She refuses to admit, but she also refuses to lie. She has never condemned people for living openly how she might live in secret. She has always been a strong ally. I'm willing to trust her judgment about what is best for her, and I see no reason to out her or otherwise press the issue.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Jan 28, 2014 9:56:11 AM


  7. If this is her way of coming out does that mean she's going to say "Yes I am a lesbi9an"?

    OF COURSE NOT!!!!

    She's a closet case who wants to exploit us while feigning praise that is in fact a cheap insult.

    Dana, have you ever heard of anyone being "slightly pregnant"?

    The closet cases that post in here will doubtless praise her.

    She makes me sick.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 28, 2014 9:57:19 AM


  8. "Height of hypocrisy?"

    Hardly. Hypocrisy is saying one thing while doing another, or holding someone else to a standard you knowingly don't follow yourself.

    Supporting the marriage of someone who is open about their sexuality while being closed about her own isn't hypocrisy. She's neither insisting that others have to be out, nor publicly saying that there's anything wrong with being gay or bi.

    It certainly raises some questions about her own life, but that's a part of being a celebrity. And yes, it's pretty common these days that the only people who don't at least acknowledge their own orientation tend to be gay or bi, since there's next to no stigma attached to it for straight people. The speculations are understandable, and honestly, valid.

    But the hypocrisy claim is not.

    And if she is conflicted or hiding her own sexuality, in many ways, the public stance she's taken on supporting and participating in celebrating the happiness and equality of others seems very courageous.

    And, while my first reaction was that it would have been more appropriate to have someone officiate who was out and open, in some ways, that would have come across as somewhat self-serving, if appropriately so, because it would have made it seem specifically gay centric. Having someone who is openly straight officiate could have come across as marriage equality being something straight people are "giving" to gay people, rather than a recognition that it is ours by right.

    So having someone this well known, whose own sexuality is ambiguous, be the officiant, was in many ways actually the most appropriate.

    It certainly changes the dialogue around the whole event.

    Posted by: Lymis | Jan 28, 2014 9:58:25 AM


  9. Couldn't have said it better than @richindc. Leave her alone. What difference does it make. If she was out there bein a raging hypocrite, it would be different. She's very supportive.

    Posted by: AJ | Jan 28, 2014 9:58:42 AM


  10. She's a complete coward. That's her business of course as she is not harming anyone.

    Except perhaps her female partner. It must be awful to realise that your partner is ashamed of you.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 28, 2014 10:04:00 AM


  11. Latifah is not supportive. She damages people by her insistence on hiding her non-private orientation.

    Her private life involves who she is dating. I don't know; I don't care.

    Her actual orientation is a neutral thing - certainly not private. No better or worse than being left-handed or brown-eyed. Her refusal to acknowledge such a neutral thing sends a message that she is ashamed and that there is something wrong with her orientation.

    It would have been a far better thing to have had Ellen or Elton or Robin or Wentworth or Melissa officiate at that wedding.

    They don't live lives of cowardice like closeted lesbian Queen Latifah.

    Posted by: MaryM | Jan 28, 2014 10:07:56 AM


  12. She's obviously gay...Geez..do people need it spelled out with crayons?....

    Posted by: Ankerich | Jan 28, 2014 10:15:52 AM


  13. It's the most endless coming-out since Jodie Foster's. I found everything about the mass wedding on the Grammys to be completely tasteless, from Madonna's pallor to Latifah's closetiness to the outfits most of the couples wore.

    Posted by: keating | Jan 28, 2014 10:17:32 AM


  14. John Aravosis at Americablog's example – "But straight Americans – and particularly celebrities – don’t invoke the right to privacy when you simply inquire about the well-being of their spouse. And they don’t rail about their “private life” when you ask, “how goes the girlfriend?" – is missing the point.

    It's still a big brouhaha and a career risk in many high-profile celebrity circles (sports, hip-hop, film, etc.) to publicly declare you're gay.

    Of course straight Americans can discuss their significant others because the inquirer won't dig any further or make headlines about it. (News flash: guy's girlfriend is doing well!!!)

    To paraphrase Queen Latifah in her New York Times interview: some people still don't get it.

    Posted by: Jedi | Jan 28, 2014 10:56:51 AM


  15. @Maryn - For someone who doesn't care, you are awful judgmental. If QL is out to her family and friends and presumably happy in her life, she is "damaging people" because she won't come out to "you". You do only care about QL for the symbolism she may or may not offer.

    Further, who is she damaging? Let me guess, "the children" - the fallback position when someone has no other rational basis for their statements. Moreover, most experts agree that the most direct impact on children lives is their immediate environment (family, community, school, etc.) -- Not celebrities!!!

    Posted by: Belthazar | Jan 28, 2014 10:59:54 AM


  16. I'm torn on this one, but I think the only reason I'm torn is because I love Queen Latifah. If it were a less likeable celebrity, I'd be less patient. But I love Queen Latifah, and for that reason I'll give her a pass. I like Juzwiak's comment on being "openly closeted." It's a conundrum.

    Posted by: Lucas H | Jan 28, 2014 11:13:27 AM


  17. Geez. Leave the poor woman alone. It's none of your business. Yes, having more high profile celebrities being out is more helpful to our cause, but if she doesn't want to talk about it, then she doesn't have to. She doesn't need to tell the whole world she sleeps with women any more than a man like Chris Evans does. It's obvious if it's true. If she were to acknowledge it, don't you think it would open the floodgates into more of her life being publicly scrutinized? If you don't think so, you are either blind or woefully ignorant.

    Posted by: WOLF | Jan 28, 2014 11:31:39 AM


  18. "If she were to acknowledge it, don't you think it would open the floodgates into more of her life being publicly scrutinized?"

    You mean like the intense 24/7 scrutiny of everything Ellen does with Portia?

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jan 28, 2014 12:04:19 PM


  19. No public figure is entitled to secrecy about public matters like dating and relationships, but if she's capable of keeping it secret, that's up to her.

    Perhaps her fear of coming out isn't about being lesbian, but is about something actually creepy.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 28, 2014 12:10:11 PM


  20. I love her. She can come out or not whenever she wishes.

    Posted by: KM | Jan 28, 2014 12:25:09 PM


  21. I love how some of you defending her are the first to put down Frank Ocean for not being 'Out' enough even though as far as I know he is still the most high profile musician to sing about a frigging man...like ever!?

    And what HAS she done exactly? Did she march for prop 8 like James Franco? Did she give money like the 100K Brad Pitt gave?

    WTF has she ever done!?

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 28, 2014 12:49:01 PM


  22. Sexuality is indeed a private matter, no matter what you are. Why anyone should be obligated to discuss their private lives (even, and especially, if they're a star) is beyond me. Latifah's profession is actress, not activist. Don't tell me she should automatically have to accept the role of activist just because someone else thinks she should. Freedom of choice still exists in America, I'm told. I have other things to say to those who scream about what she has or has not done for the gay community—by not running around shoving her sexuality in other people's faces, she's helped us maintain a shred of dignity.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Jan 28, 2014 1:19:28 PM


  23. LOLOLOL.

    WAIT.

    She doesn't even tell her manager and CHILDHOOD FRIEND?

    o_O

    gurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrl, PLEASE! That seems, um, special, to say the least.

    Posted by: redball | Jan 28, 2014 1:23:34 PM


  24. I'm kinda torn on this. I agree that only QL gets to make the decision on how open to be about being a lesbian, but on the other hand I hate the message this sends. The message is clear that being openly gay is somehow shameful and bad, and must be kept secret and hidden. Bottom line, it's her life to live, I can't force her to live the life I think she should.

    Posted by: Howard B | Jan 28, 2014 1:45:36 PM


  25. I'm kinda torn on this. I agree that only QL gets to make the decision on how open to be about being a lesbian, but on the other hand I hate the message this sends. The message is clear that being openly gay is somehow shameful and bad, and must be kept secret and hidden. Bottom line, it's her life to live, I can't force her to live the life I think she should.

    Posted by: Howard B | Jan 28, 2014 1:45:36 PM


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