In her 30 years in the entertainment industry, Queen Latifah has often been considered as a pioneer feminist in hip-hop. In her latest venture, Latifah will expand that legacy to the world of film by launching the Queen Collective–an initiative designed for aspiring female filmmakers.
Speaking with People, the multi-talented figure shared how the Queen Collective will seek to change the narrative in Hollywood. Filmmakers will submit their work with two stories taking the winner slots. The chosen women will then work with Latifah and the collective to curate their ideas and ensure their movie is fully financed, made and distributed.
Latifah is no stranger to the prejudice that plagues Hollywood. The Grammy-winning rapper, singer, songwriter and actor has dealt with her fair share of prejudice before reaching the pinnacles she has.
“I do not fit the typical mold of what then was looked at as an A-List actor — say size two, blonde, short, thin. They’re all out the window when it comes to me,” Latifah said. “I had to really change a lot of people’s minds and earn a lot of people. And also create my own endeavors because people just didn’t get it.”
According to Latifah, however, these small changes are not enough. Having finally found herself in the position to promote change, The Queens Collective is all about inclusion and truthfulness.
“We see a lot of stories that have been told through their lens in every way, shape and form,” Latifah said. “White guys have been able to tell their story in every sort of way, and unfortunately it hasn’t been that way for women. And it hasn’t been that way for people of other colors or genders. That’s the part that’s missing. We want to make sure that everyone is allowed to tell their story.”
Latifah also hopes the project will inspire the next batch of female directors.
“There are just not enough female directors,” she said separately to Yahoo. “This is a small part of what we’d like to do to help change the disparity that we see out there in terms of all the dollars that are given to male directors, all the support that’s given to male directors, and everything we see, yet we’re at least half of who’s watching these movies and buying these products. So we want to make sure women have an opportunity … that the queens have an opportunity. The Queen Collective will make sure that happens.”
Latifah cited her late mother Rita Ownes as a source of inspiration for the project.