Dana Elaine Owens (born March 18, 1970), better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, actress and singer. Queen Latifah's work in music, film and television has earned her a Golden Globe award, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Image Awards, a Grammy Award, six additional Grammy nominations, an Emmy Award nomination and an Academy Award nomination.
Queen Latifah was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Rita, a schoolteacher who worked at Irvington High School, and Lancelot Owens, Sr, a police officer. Her parents divorced when Latifah was ten. Latifah was raised in the Baptist church. Her stage name, Latifah (لطيفة), meaning "delicate" and "very kind" in Arabic, was given to her by her cousin when she was eight. Always a large girl, the 5'10" tall Latifah was a power forward on her high school basketball team. She performed the number "Home" from the musical The Wiz in a high school play.
Latifah started beatboxing for the rap group Ladies Fresh. Latifah was one of the members of the original version of the Flavor Unit, which, at that time, was a crew of MCs grouped around producer DJ Mark the 45 King. In 1988, DJ Mark the 45 King heard a demo version of Latifah's single "Princess of the Posse" and gave the demo to Fab Five Freddy, who was the host of Yo! MTV Raps.