Within the confines of the current rap scene, Queen Latifah has seen a shift in the landscape, with a noticeable lack of female rhymesayers.
So much so, the veteran entertainer admitted to USA Today how concerned she was about hip-hop’s silent female representation in rap.
“Never in my career do I remember rap being so male-dominated,” Latifah said. “In videos, women are basically shown as the girl you shake the booty with. They’re objectified.”
Although it may seem non-existent, Latifah is quick to say that “there are females out there who can rap, who listen to rap” while advocating the importance of equal representation in the music.
“Missy and Lil’ Kim and the young up-and-coming ones need an opportunity to be heard,” she said. “I think we’re all masculine and feminine, and a society can’t be right if you don’t honor the feminine voice.”
Latifah’s comments come amid her return to rap with her latest album, Persona. The release, which features appearances from Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and Mary J. Blige as well as production from Cool & Dre and The Neptunes, follows the Oscar nominee’s forays into singing with 2004’s The Dana Owens Album and 2007’s Trav’lin’ Light.
Among the songs featured on Persona is “The World,” a song in which Latifah alludes to an incident in which she was molested when she was 5-years-old by a male babysitter.
According to the rapper, the tune provided the perfect outlet to express her feelings regarding the incident.
“It was important for me to write that, to get it off my chest. And to discuss it with a therapist, and tell my parents — which I did, eventually, though it took me about 20 years. And hopefully it will be helpful to someone out there who has gone through a similar situation,” said the rapper, who admitted the incident “left me not knowing how to deal with certain things.”
In support of Persona, which was released in August, Latifah will embark on a month-long concert tour.
The outing, which is scheduled to kick off November 1 in Seattle, will be a welcome experience for the rapper, who expressed her excitement at hitting the road with her new material.
“I know I’ll have so much fun rocking these new songs on stage, and, of course, playing older favorites,” she said.
Outside of music, Latifah will return to the big screen as she appears in the upcoming romantic comedies Valentine’s Day with Jamie Foxx and Jessica Alba and Just Wright with fellow rapper/actor Common.
Both films are slated to hit theaters next year.