Queen Latifah on Hip Hop industry, sexism, racism

In this March 2019 Interview with Yahoo! show, “Through Her Eyes,” the host, Zaibad Salbi, basically had my DREAM interview with Queen Latifah. Salbi came ready with great questions, and clearly did the right research to keep up with the Queen. They tackle sexism, industry, misogyny, complicity, the #MeToo movement, mental health advocacy, and touched on affordable housing in New Jersey and the presidential run.

“Wherever there’s a lack of female voices, there’s a deficit. Period. In any sector. Whenever a womxn’s voice is not heard, included, respected.. you’re gonna lose. You’ll never be as great as you can be.”

On Sexism…

“One of the things I faced as a young artist was marketing dollars. The amount of marketing dollars that was spent on my male counterparts wasn’t usually spent on me. I know several female rappers that that happened to at that time, who had to fight to get [the same] marketing dollars spent on them in the same way. So it’s harder to be successful when you’re not being treated the same way as your male counterparts. Pay equity is one thing.. and feeling safe in the workplace, and not having to be sexually intimidated in any sort of way.

There was a status quo for many years.. people were taught and raised with certain things and that’s the way it was done for quite a while, but that whole way of being done needs to be deconstructed, broken apart, and reconstructed into something brand new that allows for everybody to feel [safe].. ’cause it’s not just womxn.”

Advice for young womxn:
“Keep going. Move forward. You have to be courageous to accomplish your goals. There are times when you’ll have to stand alone because you believe in yourself but people don’t see it yet… surround yourself with people who are moving in the same direction.”

* * *

On Race & Racism..

“America will never be as great as it could be until we deal with the truth of our racist attitudes. We have to face that because nobody should be able to come along and pick each other apart based on race or gender or class. We need a real lesson on humanity. We need a real education and people need to be educated, because they need to understand that we have all contributed to the United States of America— that it would not be what it is, without Africans, and people of African descent. This would not be the rich nation that it is, without the hard work of slaves.

We all have a place here, and it’s a big melting pot. When we help each other out, we’re so much stronger, but if we don’t deal with our issues and animosities, or history.. we gotta clear that out. That’s the mental health of this country that we need to deal with. And then we’ll be alright, because [then], we’ll be able to withstand anything, and we’ll be more compassionate to the rest of the world as well. We’re America, let’s act like it.”


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