Queen Latifah helping women make movies

Queen Latifah is putting “ladies first” in a new project.

The award-winning actress and singer recently announced the Queen Collective to help women make films and ensure “that the queens have an opportunity.” In a partnership with Procter & Gamble, the initiative will find two unknown and diverse female directors, give them all the resources they need to tell their stories “from A to Z,” and then distribute the films.

“There are just not enough female directors,” the star of films from “Girls Trip” to “Chicago” says of her push to bolster gender equality in the film business. “This is a small part of what we’d like to do to help change the disparity that we see out there in terms of all the dollars that are given to male directors, all the support that’s given to male directors, and everything we see, yet we’re at least half of who’s watching these movies and buying these products. So we want to make sure women have an opportunity… that the queens have an opportunity. The Queen Collective will make sure that happens.”

Being a voice for women isn’t new for Queen Latifah, who was among the founders of We Do It Together, the celeb-backed, femalecentric, nonprofit production company focusing on female empowerment in films, TV, and other media. Her commitment can actually be traced back to her teen years as a young rapper.

“I try to support anything I can in terms of making sure women have an opportunity,” she says. “That’s just who I am. Before I really knew what a feminist was, I was already helping to promote the feminist cause. I was just a 15-year-old rapper. I had no idea that the fact that I wanted to be looked at with respect and treated as such — and that I wrote about that in my rhymes and made records about it that people heard — was really pushing that forward, affecting other young girls and women who felt the same way, and giving other women a voice who felt that they were a little voiceless in hip-hop at that time. Finally, there was someone that was speaking their language.”

Since Queen Latifah, 48, started rapping about female issues in the ’80s — “All Hail the Queen” came out in 1989, when she was 19 — she has been committed to see the world represented equally — and realistically.

“We are fighting to make sure everyone is represented in an equal way — and for who they truly are, not some stereotype of who you are,” she said.

“You can’t take a slice of the Black experience and say ‘This is all Black people.’ Too many times we’ve seen that. What we want to see is the entire circle, not a slice of the pie. And the whole might not taste good. Everyone is not a Steven Spielberg. For every Spielberg, there are 100 terrible directors, yet they all have an opportunity to make a movie. What we’re asking for is the same opportunity.”

opportunities and tell their stories and make films and make commercials, to direct, to produce. Be in every element, every part of making the images you see on television, in film, and in advertising.”