LOS ANGELES – Queen Latifah has become the first hip-hop artist crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“I think the reason I am here is to inspire African-American women who are rappers, full-figured women to know that they can do it, too,” Latifah, 35, said Wednesday at the unveiling of the sidewalk’s 2,298th star.
Family and friends, including actor Terrence Howard, cheered for Latifah, also an actress, singer, spokeswoman and producer.
“Who would have known that in the ’70s, when a pink 8-pound baby girl was born, this is where she would be today. She came out screaming, ‘Look out world, here I come,'” her mother, Rita Owens, said.
Born Dana Owens, Queen Latifah made her debut in 1989 with the seminal hip-hop album “All Hail the Queen.” Her third album, “Black Reign,” earned her a Grammy award in 1994.
Her leap to television in 1993 with the sitcom “Living Single” widened her appeal. She went on to star in such films as “Set It Off,” “Bringing Down the House” and 2005’s “Beauty Shop,” which she also produced.
But it was the New Jersey native’s stint as soulful prison matron Mama Morton in 2002’s “Chicago” that earned her a supporting actress Oscar nomination and brought her singing acclaim.
Her latest release, “The Dana Owens Album,” a jazzy collection of blues, pop and soul classics, earned her a Grammy nomination last year.
She is also a spokeswoman for CoverGirl and its record label, CG Vibes, among other companies.
She is co-chairwoman of the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, named for her older brother who was killed while riding a motorcycle she had bought for him.
She will play a woman with a terminal illness in the upcoming film “Last Holiday.”