I don’t know that news of Queen Latifah‘s former drinking problem are much of a revelation – I think there were rumours of such a thing some years back – but in the new issue of Good Housekeeping, she finally opened up about her past alcoholism and the motivation behind it. In the mid-’90s, she was the victim of a violent carjacking which ended with her passenger and good friend being shot. Just a couple of years before that, her younger brother Lancelot was killed in a motorcycle crash (she’d given him the motorcycle as a gift), so it was a rough time, and alcohol helped numb the pain.
She turned to self-medication: “Drinking a bunch of alcohol, numbing myself. Every day I would be faded, like a painting that’s just not vibrant, whose edges are dull,” she says somberly. “I wasn’t living my full life.” Indeed, in early 1996 she was arrested while driving with a small amount of marijuana and also a loaded handgun, which she had carried since the carjacking.
Latifah knew it was time to stop the downward spiral. Jada Pinkett Smith, her friend and Set It Off costar, recommended a therapist to help her process the grief. And there was more to her sorrow than the death of Lance. She dug deep and confronted the fact that, as a child, she had been molested by a babysitter — a secret she’d kept buried for years. “We ignore our feelings a lot, I realize,” she says. “Many of us have to…until they really bite us in the butt.” Therapy helped her realize that, contrary to her feelings, the abuse had not been her fault. “What set me free was looking at it from a different perspective,” she says. “I was 5, manipulated and afraid.” Today, she encourages anyone who has been through or suspects abuse to speak up: “You have to say something. The power of those who perpetrate the abuse is your fear and your shame…and that’s unacceptable.”
It’s good to see Latifah speaking out on these important things, because maybe it’ll help others who are in her position (or have been in the past). Plus, it’s really inspiring to know that she could pull herself back up by the bootstraps, so to speak, and get her life together before she spiraled too far out of control. Also, therapy is the shit. Even if you haven’t had some devastating life, it’s more than worth it to go to weekly sessions, if you can. It’s nice to have an impartial party listen to your life.
December 12, 2013 at 9:30 am by Jennifer
Did you guys have a good weekend? Because I did, but I am so tired. I got a new apartment in a new town with my boyfriend, and I learned that I own approximately seven thousand more items than I thought I did, but hardly anything that I actually need. Friday night was spent huddled and shivering because we refused to turn on the way-too-expensive heat, and Saturday night was spent shopping for things like plates and cleaning supplies and dish towels and oh my God these rugs cost HOW MUCH? And, in the middle of all that, I chopped all my hair off. So yeah, it’s been a pretty eventful weekend.
“People say, ‘You have such beautiful skin!’ But guess what? I get pimples, too. I mean, (expletive), I’m a woman, I have hormones. Who knows what is going on? I’ve just got to roll with it. … The reality is, I like imperfection. You take away from the world when you’re not yourself. Whatever is unique and special about you was designed by God. And when you try to be someone else, we don’t get you.”
November 21, 2011 at 4:30 am by Emily
You know, that movie with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah that I told you about over a year ago? The one where these two ladies have to save that gospel choir? The one that I’m insanely, ridiculously excited about?
So should I be seeing you down at the movie theater or what?
September 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm by Emily
When I think of cast members of Dancing with the Stars, I think of people like The Situation and Bristol Palin and Kirstie Alley, you know, people who either shouldn’t be famous but are or people who used to be famous a long time ago for doing things like starring in movies about babies with John Travolta. Not people like Queen Latifah. But, you know, I can’t always be an overflowing fountain of wisdom and certainty, because it looks like the Queen herself will be joining the cast of the show for its next season.
Other contestants that we know of are Snooki (can’t wait!), Rob Kardashian, and, perhaps Tiffani Thiessen. And those all make sense, I’m fine with those lamers, but Queen Latifah was nominated for an Academy Award. She’s too good for this, right?
August 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm by Emily
Well, ok, Dolly was in a couple episodes of Hannah Montana, and she’s done a couple of other TV shows, but it’s been a hell of a long time since she did an actual movie, or at least since she’s done anything on the level of Steel Magnolias. But that’s all about to change, because Dolly is set to star alongside Queen Latifah in a new movie called Joyful Noise. Yes and yes.
Here’s the synopsis:
“[Joyful Noise] centers on an unlikely partnership between two strong-minded women who are forced to work together to save a small town gospel choir after budget cuts threaten to shut them down. Latifah will play a no-nonsense mother put in charge of the choir after the untimely death of the choir director. Her character’s faced with the challenges of raising two teens while her husband is away in the military and getting the choir ready for a national competition if she hopes to keep the program afloat. Parton will play the widow of the choir director who had assumed she would take her late husband’s position of leading the choir.”
All right, I’m going to take a moment to explain my unreasonable excitement. I’m from Tennessee, and the way I see it, there are two kinds of people from Tennessee (well, there are a lot of kinds of people from Tennessee, but stay with me): Elvis people and Dolly Parton people. Being from the end of the state opposite from Graceland, I fall strongly in Dolly Parton’s camp. I can’t remember a holiday when I haven’t watched A Smoky Mountain Christmas, and I couldn’t even begin to count the number of trips I’ve made to Dollywood. Dolly just has this special, sincere quality about her, and there’s something about her that feels like home.
Production starts in January, so the movie is a while away, but I’m going to start getting psyched now. Is anyone with me?
August 23, 2010 at 11:00 am by Emily
At the White House Correspondents’ dinner last night, Jessica Simpson revealed her one true wish: to be Michelle Obama.
“I really do [want to be Michelle Obama]. She’s such an incredible woman, and she’s with such a powerful man. Everything she does she exudes confidence. I’m really just here to celebrate her.”
Shoot for the moon, Jess. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
On the topic of stars, the Correspondents’ dinner was full of them. Guests included Justin Bieber (who, in my opinion, is the songbird of this generation), Jessica Alba, the Jonas Brothers, Dennis Quaid, Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson, Gabourey Sidibe, Queen Latifah, and a good few more. Check out the gallery to see such things as Justin Bieber and Marlon Wayans flashing gang signs and Gabourey Sidibe being in desperate need of a new stylist (and before you guys hate on me, I’m not saying anything about her being a big girl, I’m just saying that there are ways to flatter every body type, and homegirl needs to work that out).