Latifah, the New Queen of the Daytime Talk Show
After years of making music, acting and skirting coming out, Queen Latifah is scoring big with her new daytime talk show. "The Queen Latifah Show" debuted on Sept. 16 to solid ratings and critical acclaim.
"I'm ready to do a talk show now," the 43-year-old former rap star told the Advocate. "I love singing, and I love acting and producing. In 1999, I hadn't done enough of that yet, I wasn't ready. I feel like I've done a ton of that now, and I'm ready for this. I'll always want to act and sing and produce, but I'm at a point where I really want to do a talk show."
According to the Los Angeles Time, the show generated a 1.7 household rating in the nation’s largest markets, according to Nielsen ratings.
Latifah kicked off her talk show with guests John Travolta -- another actor who is surrounded by rumors about his sexual orientation -- and 12-year-old Willow Smith, daughter of the show’s executive producers, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Upcoming guests include Jamie Foxx, Sharon Stone and Jake Gyllenhaal. And "Hunger Games" star and musician Lenny Kravitz designed the studio set, which Latifah calls "The Big Sexy."
"At the end of the day, I want to create something that people want to watch," she told the Times. "If people want to watch my show, we’re going to get great bookings, we’re going to have a good time and hopefully we can make something special that affects people... for the next 10 or 15 years at least."
This is Latifah’s second try as a talk show host, after the short-lived Warner Brothers’ show in 1999.
Latifah has been a lesbian favorite since before she starred as butch thug turned bank robber Cleo in the 1996 crime thriller "Set It Off."
Speculation around Latifah’s sexuality has been circulating for decades. Fans thought the Queen was ready to come out last year when she hosted Long Beach, California’s LGBT Pride festival, saying she was proud to be among "her people." But she added later that she was not coming out at that time.
As the Advocate reported, in 2010, a number of Gossip sites posted photos of the star and her then-alleged partner and trainer Jeanette Jenkins. A few months earlier in 2009, Latifah was under fire by Perez Hilton for partying with a female stripper at a two-story townhouse in New Jersey. But for the most part, fans accept Latifah’s silence and respect her privacy, despite their hopes that she will take a vocal stance on her sexual orientation.
She told USA Today, "I know what I’m comfortable with and what I’m not. It’s what I feel is private to me and my family and my friends. It’s what I share with the public. That’s been something I decided a long time ago. It’s not a new thing. Nobody is asking me. Only the media is asking that question. What makes sense for me to share makes sense. What I think is my private business will stay private."