Queen Latifah: ‘I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw’

latifah uptown

I love Queen Latifah but I hate when magazines pose a woman on a magazine cover with her mouth in some sort of weird, uncomfortable open-mouthed smile. Look at her! She’s not laughing, she’s actually posing like that. What a terrible thing to do to our queen. Anyway, Queen Latifah covers Uptown – probably because she’s promoting her HBO movie, Bessie – and she ends up talking around her sexuality but coming out for marriage equality and LGBTQ tolerance. Some highlights:

She supports marriage equality: “People’s ideas in general are antiquated when it comes to who you love. We haven’t moved as quickly as we probably should. And the reality is that there’s always been gay people in the black community, so it’s not foreign to us. And not just as a black community but just a society as a whole…Who you choose to marry is really up to you and it’s not something you should be judged on. I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw. Couples should be protected under the laws of this country period. It actually angers me.”

Her thoughts on Bill Cosby: “It’s unfortunate because he has done so much in terms of entertainment, culture and black folks. But right is right and wrong is wrong. All these women, all these stories, it’s just—what a big stain on such an amazing career.”

The cancelation of her talk show: “Obviously it was disappointing but I don’t look at these things as catastrophic failures. We have a lot going on in our company alone, so I’m not worried about my next job opportunity.”

[From E! News]

I like that she specifically calls out the African-American community when it comes to LGBTQ acceptance. For what it’s worth, it has gotten a lot better overall, across races, in the past few years. I’m saying that as someone who remembers the 2004 election and the GOP strategy of getting black preachers agitated about gay marriage to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t think that could happen again, and I’m happy about that. As for Latifah’s sexuality…we knew she was gay when she brought girlfriend Jeannette Jenkins on a yacht vacation in 2010! Just FYI: I think Jeannette and Latifah called it quits in 2011, and Latifah is with a woman named Eboni now.

As for the Bill Cosby stuff… I think it’s difficult for a certain generation of black entertainers to discuss the Cosby stuff, because Cosby was truly an idol to so many of them. Yes, all of the rape is a “big stain” and I wish she had used stronger language about it, but hey… at least she didn’t defend him.


Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Uptown.

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38 Responses to “Queen Latifah: ‘I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw’”

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  1. Rory says:

    So c’mon out that closet then boo.

    • notpretentious says:

      That made me chuckle!

    • denisemich says:

      I wonder if she classifies herself as bisexual and not lesbian. Usually they don’t come out of the closet. I am using Kevin Spacey as an example.

    • The Other Pinky says:

      Shes out to the people she feels are entitled to that information, as is her right. If anything I wish she would just once and for all tell busy bodies to have a seat.

    • Sugar says:

      Why should she have to come out if she doesn’t want to, though? It’s her private life and her own business.

    • claire says:

      Does she actually deny it anywhere? I mean, it seems to me she goes about living her life, dating, and isn’t hiding it, so doesn’t that mean she is out?? I would imagine people that know her know. Being “out” shouldn’t just be defined by making a grand statement to People Magazine or something.

    • HH says:

      My friends and I were just having a conversation about this the other day. It frustrates me that LGBTQ celebrities don’t have an agency over their sexuality and personal life like their heterosexual peers. This idea that every LGBTQ celebrity has to publicly come out or otherwise they are trying to hide it, is upsetting. When straight celebrities do the same, they are simply “keeping their private life private” and that’s an acceptable (even admirable) response for people. While all public figures have a certain social responsibility (IMO), I feel like we sometimes force LGBTQ figures to be the “voice of the movement”. There is power in telling your stories, but the public attention will undoubtedly heighten, which leads to paparazzi and everyone talking about something so personal.

      • Sharra55 says:

        Exactly. Why does a gay actor/actress/star have to come out or declare their sexuality. We don’t ask straight stars to announce their sexuality in every interview. If they choose to discuss it, great. If not, why does it matter? Neil Patrick Harris or Matt Bohmer coming out hasn’t stopped me from thinking they are out and out sexy! Doesn’t matter!

      • SuePerb says:

        Yes! And just because they are not telling joe public who they are sleeping with doesn’t mean they are not out. They are more than likely out to their family and friends and it is not anyone else’s business. You don’t ask your bank manager or doctor who they are sleeping with so why do we feel the need to ask actors? They do their jobs, they entertain people, their sex lives are private and should be too. If they want to bring their sexuality out to the public then that is fine, but stop dragging people through the dirt to find out who is in their bed.

    • Deb says:

      I love her so much. And if she wants her private life to be kept quiet, why shouldn’t she be able to do that without judgment? Her sexuality is nobody else’s business.

  2. Little Darling says:

    I wish she would call a spade a spade here and not talk around the two ginormous elephants in the room. Ie what’s really going on with Bill Cosby (that “stain” is his roofie drink spilling on his robe) and her sexuality.
    Supporting rights is also speaking out about wanting them for yourself, personally. Everyone knows where she lands on the Kinsey scale. Be a true supporter. (Easier said than done I’m sure, but is it really hard these days for a celebrity? I don’t think so, although I understand personal preference of not wanting to share that with the world. But when Ricky Martin can come out and not receive backlash…)

    • jaye says:

      Just because she chooses not to declare her sexuality to the masses she’s not a “true supporter” of the LGBTQ community? She’s not denying her sexuality, she’s just choosing NOT to discuss it with people who, frankly, don’t really need to know.

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    She’s so pretty.

    • FLORC says:

      She really is. She’s got that inner glow.

    • Deb says:

      She’s my girl crush. She’s so beautiful, inside and out! Other friends of mine say their “girl crush” is someone like Emma Watson or Carey Mulligan, but I always say mine is Queen Latifah.

  4. Greata says:

    Just as I believe that everyone has a right to be their authentic self, so I believe that everyone has the right to choose their time and place to declare their sexuality or not.

  5. Lucy2 says:

    I’ve always liked her, and I wish she did more acting, she was always very watchable on screen.
    I wish she had been harsher about Cosby also though.

  6. cannibell says:

    I think she’s so terrific that I have made her an integral part of my latest adventure – beekeeping. I have one hive, and I have named my queen … Latifah.

  7. Tiffany says:

    I agree about the cover. Queen has a positively beautiful smile and they chose that photo.

  8. Lilacflowers says:

    Looking forward to watching her film Bessie when it airs. She has such a buoyant personality that shines through her work. I wish she would be given more roles.

  9. Santia says:

    I don’t find anything wrong with what she said about Cosby. For that generation of black kids (I’m exactly her age), Bill Cosby was Fat Albert, he was Little Bill, he was Cliff Huxtable, he was the face of the United Negro College Fund. So, yes, he created an amazing legacy for someone who came from nothing, and, yes, is a little sad to learn all his disgusting secrets. He was a hero to a lot of kids and now no one can look at him without seeing (in their minds, at least) all the horrible things he did to those women.

  10. minx says:

    I like her a lot. When she says “all these women, all these stories” though, it sounds sort of dismissive. Just IMO.

  11. Christina says:

    Ricky Martin was outed by Barbara Walters at the height of his career. His career nose dived after that and was never the same. His career has never bounced back to that level of fame. She is allowing her conservative fans room to accept her, like Vegara is over her embryos by saying she does not want to destroy them.

    • FLORC says:

      His career peaked and was already on the downswing. That his career never sprung back had nothing to do with that. It’s just what happens.

  12. Colette says:

    Why is it Black celebs are always asked and expected to address homophobia in the Black community? I never hear white celebs being asked why white folks are so anti gay?.Are they asked why EVERY anti Gay national organization from Focus in the Family, NOM, etc was created by Whites.Are they asked about preachers like Pat Robertson or Franklin Graham.Whites are just as anti Gay as any other group .I am tired of people acting like that’s not the case.Who are the people refusing to bake wedding cakes, print wedding invitations, serve pizza to gay couples?

    • Renee says:

      THANK YOU!!! I was just coming on this thread to type this.

    • FingerBinger says:

      @Collete Exactly. Black people aren’t more homophobic than other racial groups.

    • FLORC says:

      White people are asked this all the time. And it can be argued more get called out for being gay with heavy stigma in white culture.

      Truly, it shouldn’t matter. No one should have to come out and announce anything. I didn’t come out and declare i’m straight. So, why should someone else declare they’re gay?
      Maybe i’m simplifying this too much. That this still gets brought up in interviews shows people still view it as a controversial topic. I wish we were past that point.

      • Colette says:

        Give me an example of a White celeb being asked about why are WHITE people so homophobic.I wasn’t talking about them being asked about their sexuality.

      • FingerBinger says:

        No. I’ve never heard Matt Bomer or Neil Patrick Harris call out the white community for being homophobic. They’ve never specifically said white people are homophobic. Another thing there’s no such thing as white culture.

  13. Renee says:

    Can we stop with the whole, the Black community is so homophobic narrative??? Jesus. First of all, WTF is the black community??? THERE ARE MULTIPLE BLACK COMMUNITIES!!!! We are not a monolith. Second, if we black folk were so powerful in swaying public opinion I think that we would have put an end to racial profiling/the prison industrial complex/I don’t know, exorbitant number of black men (and women) being slaughtered on a weekly basis/myriad other forms of class and racialized terrorism that we are subjected to on a daily basis. Thirdly, there are BLACK QUEER FOLKS WHO ARE OUT and there are people in their families and extended communities who accept them. Maintaining this narrative renders us invisible. Thirdly, why aren’t we calling out the lawmakers and public figures WHO CREATE THESE QUEER-PHOBIC LAWS IN THE FIRST PLACE???? They are white and are the ones with most of the power. Maybe they should be called out on their addiction to white privilege and insensitivity.

    Now it’s one thing to say, it’s disappointing when members of a group that has been historically and presently been subjected to various forms of discrimination don’t act in solidarity with other marginalized groups or when they exhibit bigotry or other forms of discrimination but I think that it is unfair and disingenuous to suggest that black people have more of a responsibility than any other group to be unprejudiced and to refrain from calling out any and all other groups for the forms of discrimination and oppression that they practice.

  14. P.J. says:

    Only came here to say that the greatest offender of having a “weird, uncomfortable open-mouthed smile” on a magazine cover was Eva Mendes on the front of the April ’15 Women’s Health! Ugh. SO BAD. I mean, she always does the totally bizarre open-mouthed/tongue pressed against teeth posing on red carpets (see also: Rose McGowan) but the fact that a major publication chose the horrendous picture for their cover was completely perplexing…That cover was so crazy.

    On a side note, I ran out of my beloved MAC Studio FX liquid foundation yesterday-thought I had and extra bottle but, nope-and in a moment of desperation (the closest MAC store is two towns away) I picked up a Cover Girl, Queen Collection compact. Though the colors aren’t an exact match (as was to be expected) I love it! It will definitely hold me over until the weekend :)