Queen Latifah’s brother, Lancelot Owens Jr., died in an accident in 1992, and his death devastated and forever changed the award-winning hip-hop artist and actress.
Lancelot Owens Jr. was a police officer during his lifetime and shared a close relationship with his younger sister. They often hung out together. They also had similar interests, including riding motorcycles. As fate would have it, Lancelot Owens Jr. died while riding a motorcycle that Queen Latifah purchased for him. His death rocked her to the core, but she managed to forge on. Queen Latifah continues to remember her brother to date and often posts tributes to him on social media.
Lancelot Owens Jr. was Queen Latifah’s Elder Brother
Lancelot Owens Jr. was born on the 1st day of March 1992 in Newark, New Jersey. He was of American nationality and African American ethnicity. Were he to be alive today, Lancelot Owens Jr. would be 55 years old.
Lancelot Owens Jr. was one of two children born to Lancelot Owens and Rita Owens. His dad was a police officer, which was probably what influenced him to go that path. His mom, Rita, was a high school art teacher and a poetry lover who organized a poetry club in Newark.
Lancelot Owens Jr. had only one sibling, a younger sister named Queen Latifah, real name Dana Owens. She was born in 1970, which makes him two years older than her. Latifah started pursuing her career at a young age and has gone on to become an award-winning rapper, actress, and author. She is regarded as a pioneer for women in hip-hop and has several critically acclaimed albums to her name.
He was a Policeman During His Lifetime
Lancelot Owens spent his formative years alongside his younger sister and his parents in New Jersey. His parents divorced when he was nine years old, and he and his sister primarily resided with their mom. Their dad, however, maintained a regular presence in their lives. He taught them karate skills. He also taught them how to handle guns and even more importantly, how to handle them in a safe manner.
For his education, Lancelot Owens Jr. attended a local high school in Irvington, New Jersey. Inspired by his dad, he resolved to pursue a career in law enforcement and undertook the necessary programs to achieve that dream. This included attending the Police Academy and passing the required exams. In his early 20s, he became a police officer in East Orange, New Jersey.
Lancelot Owens Jr. Died in an Off-Duty Accident in 1992
At the time that Lancelot Owens Jr. was busy starting his law enforcement career, his beloved younger sister, Queen Latifah, was also kick-starting her hip-hop journey. She dropped albums such as All Hail the Queen (1989) and Nature of a Sista’ (1991), and they all went on to become commercially successful.
Latifah thus became a rich and busy young lady, but she and Lancelot still remained close. They loved taking rides on motorcycles, and she gifted him one. She also purchased a four-bedroom house in Wayne, New Jersey, so that they and their mom could all move in together. Lancelot was quite excited about the move and the giant Jacuzzi inside the house. He, however, never got to move into it.
Queen Latifah’s brother died in an off-duty road accident in May 1992. He had been riding a motorcycle that she had gotten him as a birthday present two months earlier when the accident occurred. He wanted to take a turn but collided with a vehicle. He did not survive.
Happy Birthday to my Brother Lance aka "Winki! You will always be remembered with Love! pic.twitter.com/8DKzbhjS4W
— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) March 1, 2016
Queen Latifah Never Remained The Same After Her Brother’s Death
Lancelot’s death devastated his parents and his sister. Queen Latifah was quite pained and couldn’t fully express how she felt in the aftermath. It was only in the years after Lancelot’s death that she revealed how the whole thing shaped her life.
It Caused Her Depression, and She Resorted to Drug Abuse
Lancelot’s death threw Queen Latifah into depression, and she resorted to abusing marijuana and other substances. She also wanted to dump her entire career, but it took the intervention of close friends such as Heavy D to keep on moving forward, and she decided to pour her anguish into music.
This disclosure came during Latifah’s appearance on WEtv’s Untold Stories of Hip Hop in 2019. She also revealed on that occasion that Lancelot’s death rocked her to her core, and she never remained the same again.
She Also Questioned Her Faith in God
In a 2013 interview with Good Housekeeping, Queen Latifah revealed that Lancelot’s death made her very angry at God. She also stated that she didn’t even relish the success she had as she didn’t have her brother to share it with. According to her, she would have easily yielded that success in exchange for her brother.
That same year, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Queen Latifah talked about the devastation, helplessness, utter grief, and desperation that comes with losing a loved one. She revealed that nothing was closer to her than her brother and that even the most subtle of things still set off memories of him.
Also, in 2016, Queen Latifah disclosed that Lancelot’s death made her question her Christian faith and God, but she held on as she received messages that told her not to throw it all away.
Queen Latifah Often Marks Her Late Brother’s Birthday on Social Media
Queen Latifah truly loved her brother, and she has continued to show it over the years. The Hollywood superstar never forgets her brother’s birthday and commemorates it on her Instagram page. In 2016, she shared a picture of Lancelot’s headstone and wrote happy birthday winki (winki was Lancelot’s nickname as he blinked a lot as a baby) you will always be remembered with love.
On March 1, 2019, Queen Latifah took to her Instagram page to write, “miss chillin’ with my brother in his room watching Star Trek! Happy Birthday Winki! Hope you’re dropping the Hammer in heaven! Tell Mommy I said hi”.
On March 1, 2022, the rapper-cum-actress posted thus; “To my brother Lance a.k.a. Winki my Pisces brother. We will always swim in eternity‘s energy I love you to Infinity. Happy birthday”.
She has Paid Tribute to Him Through her Music and Acting Works
Queen Latifah has also paid tribute to her late brother through her music and acting works. She wore Lancelot’s motorcycle key on a chain around her neck for several years. It could be seen when she was appearing on the TV series Living Single from 1993 to 1998. She also wore it during a 2006 interview.
Queen Latifah also dedicated her record-breaking 1993 album, Black Reign, to Lancelot as well as the video for the hit track U.N.I.T.Y. The album also had a song titled Winky’s Theme which was especially for Lancelot.
Queen Latifah and her Mom Have also Set Up a Scholarship Fund in Lancelot’s Name
Queen Latifah and her late mom, Rita, joined hands to step up a scholarship fund in Lancelot’s honor in 1992. The Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation gives scholarships to intelligent young people that do not have the resources to pay for college.
Queen Latifah and her mom were motivated to set up the fund because they wanted to create something positive out of a negative situation. There was also the fact that Rita was a teacher and believed in the value of education. The scholarship fund has undergone some reorganization over the years, but it remains in existence.