LOS ANGELES, Calif. (CBS4) – “The Queen Latifah Show” is taped on a sound stage at the Sony Studios in Los Angeles and CBS4’s Gloria Neal got an all access pass.
Neal took a few minutes to talk to the audience before they took their seats; she got a tour of the set, and sat down for a one-on-one interview with Queen Latifah.
“To go from rapping queen to a talk show queen is a feat in itself, you make it seem seamless,” Neal said to Latifah.
“I’m glad that it seems that way. It’s definitely been a learning experience. A great journey in a short amount of time,” Latifah replied.
Queen Latifah started out rapping in Newark, N. J. She released her first single at 17 and her body of music includes “Ladies First”, “U.N.I.T.Y.” and a remake of Phoebe Snow’s “Poetry Man.”
Queen Latifah has also had a successful movie career including the box office hit “Bringing Down the House,” a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role of Matron “Mama” Morton in “Chicago,” and a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for a movie called “Life Support.”
Despite all of that, many people are just discovering Queen Latifah for the first time in her newest role as producer and host of a daytime talk show.
“Well, that’s good. That’s good,” Latifah said reacting to the idea of converting new fans. ”That means I still have work to do… ’til the entire universe knows who the Queen Latifah is,” she joked using a character voice.
“What does it mean when people say you are real?” Neal asked.
“I think they probably feel I’m authentic… that I’m approachable to some degree,” Latifah responded.
She brings her authentic nature to the set every day, making The Queen Latifah Show about the lighter side of life.
“There are so many serious things to deal with in the world and they don’t go away,” Latifah said.
She likes to give her audience a one-hour break from the serious things, so she packs her talk show with dance contests, cooking segments, star interviews and spoof videos– all with the hope of inspiring a laugh.
“When it’s time to have fun, I have fun,” she added.
Queen Latifah credits her mother, Rita, with helping to form her sense of humor.
“My mom is funny. She’s dealing with all kinds of things… serious situations and she always finds something to laugh about.”
Latifah’s mother, 64, is battling scleroderma, an autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs. The two were recently featured in People magazine talking about Rita’s round the clock care. Latifah also talked about it on her show, tearing up a little before making a joke to lighten the mood.
She also touts her mother’s love of education as having a huge influence on her. Rita was a school teacher.
“Education was very important. You could not live in my house without going to college,” Latifah told CBS4.
Latifah didn’t finish college but she benefited from the experience, she says it taught her how to be successful in life.
“If I fall on my face, I get up and dust myself off and try again,” she said.
It’s a philosophy she’s carried through every aspect of her career.
Queen Latifah is broadcast weekdays on CBS4 at 3 p.m.