“I didn’t know I was a girl at first… It had to be explained to me because I was running around shirtless like the boys.”
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: As Queen Latifah accepted her award at the inaugural TheGrio Awards, she surprised many with her moving speech about how her identity has evolved over the years and about being the best version of herself.
Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Elaine Owns, explained to the audience how her parents taught her to believe “Balck is beautiful” from an early age. The actress said: “For me, everything starts with family. My parents raised me with the idea that black is beautiful. Black is beautiful, black is beautiful. Black is ok so I didn’t realize at the time that what they were preparing me for was a whole world.”
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Queen Latifah also addressed how she grew up very “free” without ever realizing that she was a girl and that girls and boys had different rules in life. The 52-year-old recalled having to be told she was a girl after exercising with shirtless guys, just like herself. “I didn’t know I was a girl, I had to to be said. That had to be explained to me… Because I was walking around in my t-shirt like the boys… I wanted to do the sport and all these things had to be explained to me because I was free. And so my whole life would feel like I was trying to keep my freedom to be me,” she explained.
But the first lady of hip-hop now knows exactly who she is. According to The Jasmine Brand, which first broke the news, the actress said: “I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to, because it’s a part of me. I play in the dirt, I play basketball with the boys – because that’s me. I love who I love because that’s who I am. i know me I know what I’ve done and what I haven’t done.” “I realize that life is fleeting and you just have to do your best. Be as honest and sincere as you can. Don’t dwell on what the people want to tell you about you. It’s not true. I said don’t do it.” Don’t go into what people are trying to tell you about themselves,” she added.
Byron Allen Presents TheGrio Awards premieres Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS and is available to stream live on Paramount+.