Last month, we reported that Queen Latifah was scheduled to be the host of the Long Beach Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade. I speculated that Latifah’s scheduled appearance might be her official “coming out”. Although it’s widely known that Latifah is gay, she’s never confirmed it outright (she’s never denied it either). Latifah had a long-term girlfriend named Jeanette for years and years, although I think Latifah and Jeanette are over, and I believe Latifah is now with a woman named Eboni Nichols. All of this speculation comes via the tabloids and gossip blogs – “legit” outlets like People Magazine would never report on Queen Latifah’s sexuality unless she specifically confirmed or denied it.
Anyway, the Gay Pride parade went down on May 19, and although Latifah performed, she did not issue any kind of “I’m gay” statement. I’m actually surprised that Entertainment Weekly asked Latifah the question during an interview, but I suspect that the Queen had arranged it just so:
Queen Latifah wants to be clear: Despite speculation online, her performance at Long Beach’s Lesbian & Gay Pride event on May 19 was not a signal that she was coming out as a lesbian. “That definitely wasn’t the case,” she tells EW. “I’ve never dealt with the question of my personal life in public. It’s just not gonna happen.”
That said, the 42-year old was thrilled to participate in the event and even recalled an earlier performance for gay audiences. “To me, doing a gay pride show is one of the most fun things,” she says. “My first show that paid more than $10,000 was in a gay club on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. Tupac happened to be in town, so he came to kick it with me. This was the early ’90s. And the boys were like, ‘Take your shirt off, Tupac!’ He wasn’t doing that. But we had a blast in there.”
Latifah — who’s starring in an upcoming remake of Steel Magnolias for Lifetime — also reiterated her support for her gay fans. “I know that the most important thing and the only thing I have to give is love. When people are going through hatred and bullying, the biggest thing to fight that is love,” she says. “So that’s all I encouraged my audience to do that night: to share their light and share their love. Period.”
Love the Tupac story. As for Latifah’s statement – I can get behind that. I’m fine with celebrities keeping the personal lives private, just so long as they aren’t outright denying or lying to us. Latifah isn’t out there, pretending to be dating a some Rent-A-Dong. She’s not giving effusive interviews about how much she loves dudes. She’s just not commenting on her personal life at all, the end. Which is fine. Admirable, even.
Archive Bauer-Griffin photo, other photos courtesy of Pacific Coast News and WENN.