The Queen on an old NOW cover, before she was denying gay rumours
First of all, let me be clear. I have no idea whether Queen Latifah is a lesbian or not. I do know that I, like a thousands of other dykes, hope she is.
She falls into that category of women we'd happily appropriate - Tina Fey's on the list. So's Sara Ramirez (currently heading into dykedom as Callie on Grey's Anatomy). Even Angelina Jolie's a candidate. It's amazing what one little lesbo love scene in an early movie will do for ya.
You get my meaning. In this day and age, where there are so few lesbian stars out of the closet - and not a single black major star of any gender who's come out - we're desperate for any queer crumbs, even if they emerge out of the figments of our own over-active imaginations.
Usually I'd just let it rest. I don't believe in outing people or pressuring people in any way to come out. And, as I said, I have no idea whether the Queen is queer or not. If she is, I certainly understand why, given her current gig with Cover Girl, she'd prefer not to talk openly about her personal life.
She was clear about that in last Sunday's (October 4) New York Times Magazine article when she said, "I don't have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life and I don't care if people think I'm gay or not."
I'd believe that last if Latifah hadn't behaved in some strange ways while promoting her new, very good but sorta sudsy film The Secret Life Of Bees (see my review in next week's issue of NOW).
In Toronto, where Bees premiered at this city's mammoth film festival last September, Latifah pronounced how, when she was anticipating working on the film, she thought to herself, "Who knows, I might be pregnant when I shoot this."
Speaking as a lesbian mother, I don't register a woman's pregnancy fantasies as, necessarily, a declaration of her heterosexuality and, true, the context for Latifah's comment was her appreciation of how much the film is about love and nurturence, but it struck me as a little strange at the time. A bit forced, if you know what I mean.
Then, last week, when Latifah appeared on Oprah with the rest of the Bees gang, she responded to a question about a trip she took to Egypt in another weird way, commenting at length about how beautiful the Egyptian men were and how little hassle they gave her, etc, ad, I've got to say, nauseum.
It was so unnecessary, so off the mark, so out of the context of both the movie she was promoting and the conversation itself, that it made me think that she was trying way too hard, when there really was no reason to, to express her straightness.
That kind of strategy almost always backfires. Have I mentioned I have no idea if Queen Latifah is gay? It's true, I don't. But the more she protests, resists and starts declaring her love of men at all the wrong times, the more likely I am to think that yes, that woman's just gotta be a dyke.
If I was the Queen, I'd stop talking altogether about sexuality, hers or anybody else's and just concentrate on being the immense talent that she is.
Queen Latifah, @ TIFF, on wanting to be pregnant.