Mention the name Dana Elaine Owens and not many would budge, but the name Queen Latifah sure rings a bell within the entertainment circles. She is a thorough breed entertainer whose multi-dimensional talents have graced the creative industry for about three decades. Though accomplished as a hip hop and soul singer, her acting career has also been very successful. This piece attempts to chronicle a List of Queen Latifah movies & TV shows ranked from best to worst.
Over a glittering career, Queen Latifah has amassed some of the most prestigious awards in the game. She has won a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, an Academy Award nomination, and a Primetime Emmy Award.
Her movie career took off in the early ’90s with her appearance in the sitcom Living Single, her craft evolved with roles in movies such as Jungle Fever, House Party 2 and Juice. Her own talk Show – The Queen Latifah Show which started in 1999 hasn’t done badly either.
Queen Latifah Movies & TV Shows Ranked From Best to Worst
Directed by Rob Marshall and Produced by Martin Richards, Chicago was a musical comedy-drama and cinematic adaptation of Kander and Ebb’s Broadway musical hit. Queen Latifah put in an inspired performance as the dubious Matron of the Cook County Jail. Alongside Queen Latifah are stars such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christine Baranski, Lucy Liu, Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere, John C. Reilly, Taye Diggs, and Colm Feore.
The movie is built around two murderers Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, who are in jail for various reasons. Roxie Hart (Zellweger), for the murder of her lover, and Velma Kelly who is in jail for shooting her husband and sister. The two, with the help of their sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), manipulate the media, twist facts and end up feeding off the publicity stunt. What makes the movie all the more compelling is the occasional belting of amazing jazz sounds all throughout the spectacle.
As a testament to the work put in, Chicago won 6 Oscars and 3 Golden globes. At the Box Office, it also had an impressive outing, raking in $306 million after it was produced on a budget of $45 million. At the time of its release, it was the highest-grossing live-action musical.
2. Set It Off
This is perhaps one of the most unforgettable of Queen Latifah’s movies. Set It Off is a powerful story about the life of four girlfriends each with her own peculiar emotional and financial challenges but united in a plot to rob a bank. Each of the ladies depicts a regular black woman and her personal struggles. Frankie (played by Vivica Fox) is sacked from her job in the bank as a teller for being a black woman from the projects and assumed to have links with the criminal entities back there. Tisean (played by Kimberly Elise) is motivated to join the robbery plot after she loses custody of her son for bringing him along with her to her job as a janitor. Child Protective Services deem her incapable of taking care of him and deny her custody. Stony (played by Jada Pinkett) gets her own motivation to join the robbery after her brother is gunned down by the police in a case of mistaken identity.
Written by Takashi Bufford and Kate Lanier, and Directed by F. Gary Gray, Set It Off will leave you identifying and empathizing with these women as they embark on their criminal venture. Queen Latifah stars as Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims, a tough and ambitious lesbian who suggests the idea of robbing a bank to her friends. The movie depicts the hardship of black families in inner cities and the difficulties black women face in everyday life in certain parts of America.
The film which was released in 1996 on a budget of $9 million ended up making an impressive $41 million at the Box office. It was also rated by Tribute magazine as the highest-grossing movie of 1996.
3. Girls Trip
Starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish and Queen Latifah, Girls Trip is a proper feel-good comedy that showcases black womanhood in all its boisterous glory. With a bit of sexually explicit humor, Girls Trip crisscrosses themes such as infidelity, faith, family in a very relatable and enjoyable way.
Queen Latifah plays Sasha, a celebrity gossip blogger who alongside her friends plan to reunite over a VIP weekend trip to New Orleans for the annual Essence Music Festival. The holiday is a perfect setting for the girls who have been friends since College to catch up and rekindle their friendship which had been waning due to exigencies of adult life.
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Girls Trip was listed by Time magazine as one of the top 10 movies of 2017 and is on record as the first film by an African-American female screenwriter to surpass $100 million in earnings.
4. Living Single
You really cannot chronicle Queen Latifah’s movies without a mention of her performance in Living Single. The iconic comedy sitcom ran from August 22, 1993, to January 1, 1998, and during that time, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Comedy Series.
The series which was popular among the black and Latino population was centered around the lives of six African American friends living in Brooklyn.
Queen Latifah herself was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series at the image awards. She played the role of Khadijah James, a publisher of a rising magazine focused on urban lifestyle.
5. Life Support
Released in 2007, Life Support is an emotional drama that stars Queen Latifah reenacting a real-life story of an HIV-positive woman called Ana Wallace. Nominated for 2 Emmy’s at the Emmy Awards in 2007, Life Support is set in Brooklyn, New York and could easily pass for an HIV educational video, the only difference being that this is more captivating.
Directed by Nelson George and released in 2007, Queen Latifah does an amazing job of portraying the life of Anna Wallace who contracted HIV not through the more popular ways, but rather through shooting cocaine with her former boyfriend. The story sees her try to reconcile her family life and her advocacy for the ailment which she lives with in dignity.
6. Living With the Dead
Shot in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Living With the Dead is an intriguing crime drama about seven dead boys who are trying to reach out and tell the story about their murder. The movie was released in Europe with the title Talking to Heaven.
The man they are trying to communicate with works with detectives to resolve the murder. Queen Latifah plays the role of Midge Harmon. The TV film was met with more positive than negative reviews from critics, receiving an audience score of 80% from Rotten Tomatoes.
7. The Bone Collector
Shot on a budget of $48 million and grossing $150 million, The Bone Collector is a suspense-filled crime thriller that tells the story of a legendary but paralyzed forensic detective who must team up with a bubbly street-smart policewoman in her twenties to apprehend a serial killer on the loose.
Directed by Phillip Noyce, Queen Latifah stars as Nurse Thelma. Though the stars of the film are unquestionably Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah’s performance cannot be sniffed at.
Queen Latifah plays Sulie in this 1997 crime drama centered around the mob-life of Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, a mobster and bookmaker who was notorious within the Harlem neighborhood of New York in the early ’30s.
Directed by Bill Duke, Hoodlum is riddled with violent scenes and a bit of history classes. This fictionalized portrayal of Bumpy’s life brings to fore the realities of life on the streets of Harlem of the late 1920s. The film was met with mixed reviews with a rating of 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, commercially, it was a failure as it failed to earn back its $30 million budget, managing only $25 million. However, the big success of the Hoodlum project was its soundtrack which was released by Interscope Records and made it to #94 on the Billboard 200 and #23 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
9. Joyful Noise
This is one film that has got more acclaim for the quality of the musical performances than the actual plot and storyline. Queen Latifah plays the character Vi Rose Hill – a mother of two teens who takes over the leadership of a Church choir after the demise of the Choir Director.
The plot is centered around her leadership (and ensuing disputes) of the Divinity Church Choir in their preparations to compete at the National Joyful Noise Competition. Written and Directed by Todd Graff, Joyful Noise grossed $31.2 million at the Box office on a $25 million budget. It was critically panned with a 4.7/10 rating from 123 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. Street Dogs Of South Central
A Documentary film isn’t really the genre you’d expect to see Queen Latifah feature in, but she does a decent job of narrating the ordeals faced by stray puppies to find food and shelter in an often harsh, densely populated urban enclave. The film was directed by Bill Marin and Produced by Vincent Ueber and Rene Duran.
Premiered on March 31, 2012, at the Atlanta Film Festival and subsequently aired on Animal Planet, Street Dogs Of South Central will definitely be a favorite for dog lovers and animal rights activists but a bit of a bore for most regular folks which is why it is ranked low on the List of Queen Latifah Movies.