Queen Latifah may be better known for her acting and comedy today, but in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, she was a well-respected rapper. The artist sat down with HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Sept. 29, and talked about how she chose to take a stand against misogyny in rap with her music. 

“For me at the time, I felt that there was a lot that needed to be said. There were a lot of male rappers who had opinions about women and certain words that I did or didn’t like,” she explained. “I chose to start at home and how women treat themselves and respect themselves and carry themselves, rather than say, ‘You don’t speak to me like this!’”

She went on to explain that she felt women were letting men get away with treating them poorly, and that many didn’t have high enough self-esteem to stand up for themselves.

“I chose to kind of take the route of uplifting women by trying to make some records that have some positive thoughts in it,” the TV producer, 45, said. “I was young, crazy, and wild too, but still I felt like there are ways to make records that appeal to the masses but still have a message that leaves something with you.”

And she succeeded. In 1993, she released her third album, Black Reign, which included the Grammy-winning single “U.N.I.T.Y.” The song was an anthem against society’s disrespect for women, calling out subjects such as street harassment, domestic violence, and the use of slurs against women in rap music.

“Seeing disparity in certain things or misogyny, I had a problem with that,” the actress admitted. “I was never the kind of person that was gonna take something lying down. … I was raised to protect myself and stand up for myself and speak my mind and be true, even if I had to stand alone.”

It’s something that the actress hopes hip-hop artists will continue to do. “I just want to encourage those up-and-coming rappers to No. 1, write hot records, but write hot records talking about the things that you feel.”

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