Marlene Beltran on Queen Latifah

“SHE brilliantly brought a female perspective to a previously male dominated art form.”

QUEEN LATIFAH's brilliant, three-decade long career has spanned the fields of music, acting, writing, directing and producing. This multi-talented artist was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of a schoolteacher and a police officer. The first female rapper to land a record deal, her acclaimed debut album All Hail the Queen featured the powerful feminist anthem, Ladies First. Says our storyteller, “I was just a girl listening to her songs and I don’t think I intellectually understood the power of her music - but I felt it. She empowered me.” Latifah challenged the misogyny that was prevalent in early rap music and encouraged her female listeners to resist being labeled in derogatory terms. In every field she has pursued she has projected a message of female empowerment.


Marlene Beltran

Marlene Beltran is a first generation Chicana, born and raised in Los Angeles. A multidisciplinary artist; actor, director, singer, songwriter and theatre arts educator. She is an alumna of Cal Arts where she received her BFA in acting and is also a graduate of the LACC Theatre Academy. In 2019, she directed the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Annual Showcase as well as appeared as a lead actor in the film; La Serenata; directed by Adelina Anthony, which won the “Best Short Film” Imagen Award in that same year. Recent productions of note include the live streamed play: a farm for meme, written by Virginia Grise and directed by Elena Araoz in August of 2020 as well as, Flower of Anger written by Edwin Alexis Gomez and produced by Queer Youth Foundation as part of the East Side Queer Stories: One Act Play Festival. As a musician, she is a member of the all women, native song and drum group; In Lak Ech and the lead singer of the world soul band Cuicani , which released three original singles in 2020 and can be found on all major music streaming platforms. Marlene is bi-lingual in Spanish and has over 15 years of teaching artist experience, building culturally relevant curriculum, leading residencies and workshops with underserved youth and communities in collaboration with such organizations as Plaza De La Raza, Shakespeare Center LA, Arts For Healing & Justice Network and About Productions. She also leads professional development sessions for educators, mental health professionals and artists, which focus on emotional well being and center the healing of self and our communities through creative expression and collaboration.

Featured Woman

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah, born Dana Owens in 1970, is an American singer, rapper, actress, and producer who has made a significant impact on the entertainment industry. She began her career in the late 1980s as a rapper and quickly gained recognition for her socially conscious lyrics and powerful voice. Latifah later expanded her career to include acting, with notable roles in films such as “Chicago,” “Bringing Down the House,” and “Hairspray.” She has also hosted her own talk show, “The Queen Latifah Show,” and produced several films and television series through her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment. Throughout her career, Latifah has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and social justice, and has been recognized for her philanthropic work with organizations such as the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She has received numerous awards for her work, including a Grammy, an Emmy, and a Golden Globe. Latifah remains a powerful and influential figure in the entertainment industry, and her contributions to music, film, and television have inspired generations.