Born Dana Owens, in New Jersey

Latifah (Arabic for "sensitive and delicate") opened the door for many other female MCs without hurling obscenities or dressing like a hootchie. When her first album All Hail the Queen was released in 1989 on Tommy Boy Records, she provided a refreshing alternative to the testosterone heavy East Coast rap scene.

In addition to her career in hip hop, Latifah hosts a daytime talk show and has also acted in several movies, including The Bone Collector with Angelina Jolie.

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