Producer/ Executive Producer/Actress/Singer/ Rapper/Talk Show Host Dana Owens, a.k.a: Queen Latifah, 44, wears a lot of hats and for over twenty years in the business (as you may very well know), has remarked and earned her place in it.
A household name today, and although her professional life pretty much needs no introduction, you very rarely see/hear of her talking much about her personal life.
Having lost her brother Lancelot Jr., a police officer and motorcycle enthusiast, to a motorcycle accident in 1992 two months after having bought a motorcycle for him; Latifah said she felt like she had lost a limb-she’d lost all faith and it rocked her to the core and she felt “spiritually disconnected.” As a result of it all, she admits drinking heavily and smoking [marijuana] to numb the pain and disconnect.
Three years later  she lost a close friend amid a carjacking that ending tragically with the friend having died in her arms during the crime. Shortly thereafter, she had a run-in with the law after being pulled over and found with marijuana and carrying gun [as a result/for protection after the carjacking].
Needless to say that [by suggestion and advice to get help] by friends like her Set if Off co-star Jada Pinkett-Smith; Latifah began to pull herself together, continued mounting success and even found love-that too, she attributed to helping her heal from the pain over the death of her brother Lance.
Last spring however, during production of her syndicated talk show The Queen Latifah Show, little did we all know (beneath the Queen’s many hats she wears) she was also taking charge of her mother (retired high school teacher Rita Owens’) round-the clock care [after her being diagnosed for pulmonary fibrosis].
Owens, 64, was diagnosed with the auto immune disease that causes scar tissue buildup in her lungs which too, because of the blood pressure in her lungs, impacts her ability to breathe.
Queen Latifah says she couldn’t imagine anyone else looking after her mother and explains to People Magazine: “I wasn’t going to do the show unless she came here. I knew she was dealing with her health issues sometimes and I would not be able to get to her as easily.”
She continued: “Anyone who has a job and then has a family member at home who is ill, it’s 24 hours. You have to be there. They need you. I try to be as in the moment and as present as possible. And then I try to get some sleep and go to work and be present there and then go home and be present there.”
When Latifah is busy, still, she never leaves mom unattended. She enlists friends and family to help [her] look after her mother around the clock while she is at work.
Says her mother “It’s not a day or night that she doesn’t peek her head in my room and make sure I’m okay. If it’s medical she’ll go in and grill the doctors and make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. She sacrifices her time, her resources. She genuinely loves me and I know that.”
So as you can tell, Dana Owens may very well be known and as the star: “Queen Latifah,” but the one who actually takes the crown is her mother Rita Owens who is the star, and the Queen that gets the royal treatment ‘round the clock + around these parts, with love from daughter:
People Mag Photo credit: Nigel Parry
(For more on the story, pick up the latest issue of People Magazine which just hit news stands this past Friday)
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