Queen Latifah Hub

Gay Iconography: Could Queen Latifah Be A Closeted Icon?


The phrase "gay icon" gets tossed around a lot, but why is it that some figures amass more of a gay audience? Welcome to Gay Iconography, a feature where we present a proposed iconic figure or character and then ask you to weigh in with your thoughts. 

Last October, the Equality Forum announced its list of LGBT History Month icons, and appearing on the list alongside folks like Anderson Cooper and Nathan Lane was actress, singer and producer Queen Latifah. Unlike her fellow icons (their word), Queen Latifah never officially came out.

LatifahThe Equality Forum explained their choice to Philadelphia Magazine, “based on information available to the LGBT History Month selection committee at the time of the Icon selection process, Queen Latifah was expected to officially come out when her new talk show premieres in September. Now she has made it clear that is not going to happen. In the future, living LGBT History Month nominees will not be considered eligible if they are not out.”

Not only is Queen Latifah not out, but she's been steadfast in her denial of rumors that she is a lesbian. Whether that's in connection to her alleged girlfriend Jeanette Jenkins (the two bought a home together in 2010) or refusing to comment on her personal life on her new talk show, Latifah has made it clear that she doesn't intend on sharing her personal life privately. She told the New York Times in 2008: "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 personal relationships aside, Queen Latifah's career has often intersected with the gay community. She famously performed at Lesbian and Gay Pride in Long Beach, calling the crowd "her people." (She would later specify that was not intended as a coming out.) She won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in Life Support, an HBO film about a woman who is diagnosed with HIV. Queen Latifah has also appeared in lots of gay-friendly fare, including Chicago, Hairspray, the Lifetime remake of Steel Magnolias and Joyful Noise (alongside indisputable gay icon Dolly Parton). Most recently, she officiated the weddings of 33 gay and straight couples live on the Grammys alongside Macklemore and Madonna.

Check out some of our favorite Latifah performances, and hail (or dethrone) the Queen in the comments, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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


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.



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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Dolly Parton Raps About Her 'Wrecking Balls' for Queen Latifah: VIDEO


The queen of country turns to hip-hop in a rap performance on The Queen Latifah Show: "I’m workin'. I’m twerkin'. Hey Miley, I got your wrecking balls right here!"


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Queen Latifah Did Not Come Out

LatifahlongbeachQueen Latifah wants it known: Despite rumors to the contrary, Queen Latifah's performance at Lesbian & Gay Pride in Long Beach was not a coming out party.

From Entertainment Weekly:

“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.”

Although she insists she hasn't and won't come out, Latifah did refer to the assembled LGBTfolk in Long Beach as "her people." She also said, presumably of performing at a pride celebration, "I've been waiting to do this a long time."

Though Long Beach was Queen Latifah's first pride event, she's performed for all-gay audiences before. In EW, she shares this anecdote

“My first show that paid more than $10,000 was in a gay club on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Tupac happened to be in town, so he came to kick it with me. This was the early ’90s. And the boys were like, ‘Take your shirt off, Tupac!’  He wasn’t doing that. But we had a blast in there.”

Queen Latifah Among 'Her People' At California Pride Event

QLatifahQueen Latifah performed at the Long Beach Gay Pride event this weekend and according to EURweb the actress and singer told the crowd she was proud to be among "her people."

Instructing her audience "to conquer hate with love" and to "let their inner light shine in the world," Latifah, long rumored to be a lesbian, admitted, "I’ve been waiting to do this for a long time."

The event was the Queen's first appearance at a gay pride event. Could the artist, who has for years kept her private life to herself, be laying the groundwork for a coming out of her own?

Annie Leibovitz Does Disney

Disney theme parks have again enlisted Annie Leibovitz and a slew of celebrities, including Olivia Wilde and Alec Baldwin, seen above as Snow White's evil queen and her magical mirror, to recreate the company's iconic characters for an ad campaign.

The guys over at Comics Alliance don't seem too impressed with the latest offering:

There's a great idea underneath all these photographs. The Annie Leibovitz of many years ago would have executed what should have been impossibly beautiful live-action Disney images with aplomb. But what Disney failed to notice was that the Annie Leibovitz of today is more of a delegator of post-production processes...

Check out some more images, including Queen Latifah as Ursula from The Little Mermaid, AFTER THE JUMP...

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