SeeHer Story Praises Hip-Hop Star and Actress Queen Latifah in Episode 17

When it comes to staying true to herself and uplifting other women, Queen Latifah reigns supreme.

As a pioneer for women in hip-hop, Latifah, born Dana Owens, has dedicated her career to helping women have a voice, which is why SeeHer Story wants to honor her life in this week's episode.

Katie Couric Media and PEOPLE partnered to create the second season of SeeHer Story, a weekly digital video series produced to celebrate various female trailblazers from the past 100 years to today.

Latifah's debut single "Ladies First" hit the radio in 1989 and quickly became a catalyst for Black women in the world of hip-hop.

"Whenever a woman’s voice is not heard, included, respected – you’re gonna lose. You’ll never be as great as you could be," Latifah said in a past interview.

As she stepped onto the music scene, other rappers including Flavor Flav, Jay-Z, and Naughty by Nature supported her.

“The people you might have considered the hardest rappers at the time had a lot of respect for me," she recalled of her early career.

However, the industry wasn't as supportive of her music.

"It’s harder to be as successful when you’re not being treated the same way as your male counterparts," she said in an early interview.

Latifah switched paths and set her sights on Hollywood, where she got help from fellow musician-turned-actor Will Smith.


She soon became a hit with her own sitcom, Living Single, which debuted in 1993 and ran for five seasons.

She then transitioned to the big screen with a number of memorable roles, including robbing banks with real-life friend Jada Pinkett Smith in Set It Off and an Academy Award-nominated turn for her performance of Mama Morton in Chicago.

She recently reunited with Pinkett-Smith for Girls Trip, which became the first Black-led film to make over $100 million at the box office.

Latifah continues to play historical Black figures like Hattie McDaniels and Bessie Smith.

She has also used her platform to speak out about injustice, most recently sharing her views on police brutality.

"What happened to Breonna Taylor was beyond a travesty," she said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

SeeHer Story will be a regular feature in PEOPLE’s print edition and the weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric.

"SeeHer Story celebrates the important contributions of bold women from the past 100 years who have changed our country forever,” said Couric in a statement. “We hope recognizing them and telling their stories will not only give them their due but will also inspire the next generation of leaders.”

She added, “Together with Meredith and PEOPLE, I’m so excited to bring back a second season of stories of women whose names you may know — and put those whose achievements are not as well-known — front and center so we can celebrate them as well.”

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