Let’s be truthful. Queen Latifah’s sexuality is not necessarily one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. The signs are all there: Her lack of male companions; her constant female companion; her not so subtle edge of masculinity. Need I continue? So, if we all are pretty certain that the Queen is a lesbian, it makes one wonder why she refuses to live out loud – so to speak.
Take yourself for example. Knowing what you ‘know’ about Queen Latifah, how would you respond if she pulled an Ellen and let everyone know what time it is? Would you respect and support her for keeping it real? Perhaps you may find yourself more comfortable in denial of her evident sexual preference. This is very well one of the main factors that prevent Queen Latifah, and other closeted celebs from living out loud. Public acceptance.
In our community, there seems to be a particularly harsh strain of homophobia, which sometimes even borders on paranoia. Homosexuality is just as prevalent among African Americans as it is among any group, but a very blatant homophobic philosophy seems to be embedded in our culture.
I once interviewed Terrance Dean, author of Hiding in Hip Hop and grilled him on the issue of the gay subculture in the entertainment world. According to Dean, “The gay sub-culture does exist…. And it’s unfortunate, because in the Black and Latino communities we’re not able to be fully self-expressive and authentic and expose ourselves and our sexuality like our white counterparts. Unfortunately in the Black community it is such a taboo and we don’t talk about sexuality. This could be why there’s such an epidemic of HIV and AIDS for Black women and the prevalence of teenage pregnancy. [We’re] so afraid to have that dialogue about sex, we become promiscuous. In this day and age, this leads to more [gay people] staying in the closet and afraid to come out.”
Thus, getting back the Queen, the term ignorance is bliss comes to mind. I’ll close by posing the following question:
Are we less at ease with her sexuality, or more comfortable with her omission of it?