AceShowbiz - Queen Latifah has gotten candid about how her sense of identity has evolved over the years. During an acceptance speech at the inaugural TheGrio Awards in Beverly Hills, "The Equalizer" star claimed she "didn't know [she] was a girl" when she was younger.
"It all starts with the family for me. My parents raised me with the idea that Black is beautiful. Black is beautiful, Black is beautiful. Black is OK," the 52-year-old explained. "You start saying it enough and you start believing me. And so I didn't realize at the time that what they were preparing me for was a whole world."
"I didn't know I was a girl, initially, I had to be told that. That had to be explained to me…. 'Cause I was running around with my T-shirt off like the boys … I wanted to play the sports and all these things had to be explained to me because I was free," she added. "And so my whole life would feel like I've been trying to maintain my freedom to be me."
As for now, Latifah knows who she is. "I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to, because that's part of me. I play in the dirt, I play basketball with the boys - 'cause that's me. I love who I love because that's me. I know me. I know what I've done and what I haven't done."
The "End of the Road" star later encouraged the audience, "I realize that life is fleeting and you just gotta do the best you can. Be as honest and genuine as you can." She further noted, "Don't go for what people are trying to tell you about yourself. It's not true. I said, don't go for what people are trying to tell you about yourself."