On Sunday night (Sept. 10), Queen Latifah (Dana Elaine Owens) wowed long-time and new fans with her stunning performance of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” before the NFL’s New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys game at MetLife Stadium. The award-winning rapper, singer, songwriter, record executive, producer and actress is a native of New Jersey. With seeming effortlessness, she showed viewers and others from around the world why she’s beloved in multiple areas of the entertainment industry.
Dressed in a two-piece checkered ivory pantsuit, she sang the anthem as a 9/11 tribute alongside a New York Fire Department (FDNY) and New York Police Department (NYPD) choir. By the time Queen Latifah and the choir finished the performance, fans and others cheered the “pitch-perfect” rendition.
Surprising to many of Queen Latifah’s oldest fans, new fans on social media seemed shocked that she could sing at all. On Twitter, posts by new fans included statements like “Queen Latifah sings????,” “I had no clue Queen Latifah sings,” and “Wait, Queen Latifah sings? Since when she is always gonna be a rapper to me.”
Her older fans offered up some commentary as well: “People are JUST finding out that Queen Latifah sings? Have they not seen ‘Chicago’ or ‘Hairspray’? Or saw that she released two jazz albums? Or even when she played Bessie Smith in that HBO movie?”
In the 1990s, Queen Latifah leveraged her rapping successes to create an acting career along with several other popular rappers at the time, such as LL Cool J and Will Smith. Yet her music captured fans from all walks of life in the last half of the prior decade. In 1995, she won the Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy Award for “U.N.I.T.Y.” The Library of Congress National Recording Registry chose her All Hail the Queen album for permanent preservation.