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How Queen Latifah Became An Agent Of Change

In a session entitled Agents of Change during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the artist/actress/TV host Queen Latifah discussed her biggest mission to date, being an advocate of diversity and feminism.

You have been breaking barriers everywhere you go, tell us your personal story, what drives you to make these changes?
As a child I loved sports especially soccer. I was a big fan and I got a soccer ball for Christmas. I remember going to school and during recess all I wanted was to play sports with the boys, so I started being labeled as a tomboy. That was my first experience with an opposition towards something I had the desire and the skills for. This opposition hurt my feelings; I didn’t want to be known as the tomboy. It taught me early on that I was going to have to fight to achieve the things I wanted to do, and I learned how to stick up for myself.

Eventually, I met people who would understand me and encourage me. I had a passion for being a female rapper, a field that was mostly dominated by men. Fortunately I signed to a label that had a female vice president who understood me. What I learned that there are many people who will be your allies and who will fight with you along the way. And now when I get the opportunity to support someone I give them a chance, there is no way I will treat him/her like I was once treated.

In your opinion, how can we get gender equality in movies, music and television?
You have to make sure people who are making decisions are women who can speak through their own lens, but also, many different types of women because each woman thinks differently. Having a woman behind the camera allows her to tell the story the way she sees it.

For instance many women love sci-fi and action films, why shouldn’t they be able to direct them? They should have this opportunity and the common mentality needs to change in the entrainment industry. This is a talent and not just a favor, an opportunity that not only serves women alone, but to different people, ethnicities and genders. It’s a gift to our men to take the pressure of them; you don’t need to be perfect or the strongest. Its now the time to see all the amazing things that woman can do.

Please tell us more about the Queen Collective
We give an opportunity to two female directors to create and produce their own film that we will support, finance and bring to the market. We want to see you tell your own story without worrying about how you will finance it.

By Victor N.