Dana Elaine Owens (born March 18, 1970) better known by her stage name Queen Latifah, is an American rapper, singer, actress and CoverGirl. 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.
Latifah was born and raised in Irvington, New Jersey, the daughter of Rita, a schoolteacher who worked at Irvington High School, and Lancelot Owens, a policeman. Her parents divorced when Latifah was ten. Latifah performed the number "Home" from the musical The Wiz in a high school play. Her stage name, Latifah (لطيفة), meaning "delicate" and "sensitive" in Arabic, was given to her when she was eight by her cousin. Latifah was raised in the Baptist church and, while in high school, was a power forward on her basketball team.
Latifah started her career 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 MC's grouped around producer DJ Mark the 45 King. In 1988, DJ Mark the 45 King heard a demo version of