Interview with Queen Latifah of "Star" on FOX - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Queen Latifah 

Interview with Queen Latifah of "Star" on FOX 2/6/17

This was very nice. Queen Latifah is an amazing goddess, but she's also very kind and friendly. I enjoyed listening to her!

Final Transcript
FBC PUBLICITY: Conference Call with Queen Latifah of Star
February 6, 2017/1:00 p.m. EST

Alex Gillespie
Queen Latifah


Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Conference Call with Queen Latifah of Star. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session, and instructions will be given at that time. [Operator instructions]. As a reminder, todayís conference is being recorded.

I would not like to turn the conference over to your host, Ms. Alex Gillespie. Please go ahead.

Alex: Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. Just a reminder that Star airs on Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. on Fox. You can find all of our press materials on the press website at Since we only have a short amount of time, Iím going to turn this right over to Queen Latifah right now so that we can get your questions and answers started.

Queen Latifah Hi, everyone. Are they still in listen-only mode? I just want to thank everybody for being on the call today, and thank you for supporting our show. Iím ready. Letís have at it.

Alex: Okay. Weíre ready for some questions.

Moderator: Certainly. [Operator instructions]. Our first question comes from the line of Paulette Cohn with Please go ahead.

Paulette: Thank you. One of the fun things about Carlotta is she owns a hair salon, but her own hair she changes color, she changes style. Can you talk a little bit about where that idea came from and how much input you have into the different wigs that you wear?

Queen Latifah: The idea definitely came from Lee. Carlotta is not a stereotype. She is someone we know, but the women we know love to spend time on their hair. Hair is very important, particularly in the black community. So, even though sheís busy running a business and has many hairstylists around, she doesnít really have time to really do her own hair like that, so wigs are a way of her changing up her look, expressing herself, doing something a little different, and keeping it fresh.

Also, part of how she does have a lot of expression and difference inside of her that she kind of gets to let out through these wigs. Sheís not afraid to take chances on it. Itís also maybe a little advertisement, a little display of what the shop can do and connecting to the community.

These wigs are not primarily very expensive wigs. I think if anything costs over $20, then Lee will pretty much call me and tell me to take it off because he makes sure that we connect to a community that is really shopping in that price point but still wants to look good and still wants to express themselves even if they donít have a lot of money.

Thatís something people connect to. This is still a way of her feeling special even in the midst of everything going crazy around her.

Paulette: Perfect. So, this show is set in the music world, and I was wondering if you have a song that you consider your personal theme song.

Queen Latifah: My personal theme song thatís one of the showís songs?

Paulette: No, no, no. Any song in the world. Like, if I was going to pick a song, I might pick Gloria Gaynorís ďI Will Survive.Ē Do you have a song that speaks to you?

Queen Latifah: I come from a music world, so I have a million songs that speak to me, but I think it depends on what mood Iím in, but I think Bob Marley is a go-to at all times. I think heís probably the greatest artist ever because you can always throw Bob Marley on at a party, and I donít care what kind of crowd is in there, thereís always a Bob Marley song that somebody will dance to or connect to.

Heís super universal, beyond comprehension, and even that connects to me. So, if I feel like I need ďEvery Little Thing Gonna Be All Right,Ē then thatís fine. If I need ďSo Much Trouble in the WorldĒ to just deal with whatís going on at the time, I have that. So, I think Bob would be my go-to if I were to say what artist is my go-to.

Paulette: Terrific. Thank you so much.

Queen Latifah: Thank you.

Moderator: Next weíll go to the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.

Suzanne: Hi. Thanks for taking our calls today.

Queen Latifah: Thank you for being here. I appreciate it.

Suzanne: Itís great. Everybody I know, that I told that I was going to be talking to you, theyíre like, "Oh, tell her how much I love her!" You have a lot of fans.

Queen Latifah: Thank you.  That's good to know.

Suzanne: What do you like most about this character? What part of it really drew you in?

Queen Latifah I think how much sheís been through and how many mistakes sheís made in life, but how gifted she is at the same time. Sheís a character who is extremely flawed, whoís been hurt, whoís made mistakes that have had dramatic consequences on her life and her future. Yet, she still has a huge capacity to love, and she never gives up.

She still wanted to be redeemed in many ways. Sheís never all the way there, but she never gives up. She never stops trying. She never just completely gives in to one side. She always keeps trying to challenge and grow and change, and it doesnít necessarily look like it because she may play it real cool and calm sometimes, but sheís always going through a lot underneath.

Suzanne: Yes, layers.

Queen Latifah I think sheís much more complicated and much more challenging for me as an actor to play than people might think because thereís so many layers underneath what Carlotta is feeling that I have to find so many angles into her at all times.

Then, of course, when Lee throws in twists and turns which is always fun, I have to find more angles into her, which is always fun. Itís fun, itís challenging, and itís exciting for an actor. I donít get bored doing it.

Suzanne: Thatís great. Thank you.

Queen Latifah: Youíre very welcome.

Moderator: The next question will come from the line of Jerry Nunn with Windy City Times. Please go ahead.

Jerry: Hi, Queen Latifah. Calling from Chicago.

Queen Latifah: [Audio disruption].

Jerry: Itís an LGBT newspaper. Can you talk about having a trans daughter on the show and what youíve learned or what thatís meant to you?

Queen Latifah That was also one of the big draws of Carlotta is the fact that she has a trans daughter. Queen Latifah, completely different. Carlotta, completely different between Queen Latifah, but they cross over in certain ways.

The topic of being trans or having a trans child or becoming trans later in life, these things are very topical. More importantly, the thing that Lee and I talked about when we developed the concept of this show and what we were interested in about this was the fact that everybody doesnít know the right thing to say. Itís a new experience for a lot of people, and if we could only communicate about it, we could grow to understand each other.

Youíll find that theme along a lot of lines in this show, but this particular thing is very important to us, especially since our whole relationship in beginning this whole movement came after we were at the after party for Precious. We kind of hung, and we got on the topic of Paris is Burning, and how much we both loved that movie and how some of the people in that movie were high school classmates of mine or friends that I knew from hanging out in the clubs in my teenage years. His young years he kind of crossed a lot for the same places and how we wanted build that understanding.

At the same time, you canít always fault people for what they donít understand. You always have to try to build a bridge. We wanted to show the conversation. We hear about those conversations, especially when Caitlyn Jenner became Caitlyn Jenner. It became a huge topic of conversation, but some of it was sort of trivialized or stereotyped or overblown, but what was missing was the actual conversation what was had to get from point A to point Z.

We wanted to show those actual conversations, what challenges people go through, what Cotton is feeling. Letís just start with what Cotton is feeling and why Cotton feels this way and what Cotton is going through. Then, letís deal with Carlotta and what sheís feeling and what sheís going through and how can a mother and child build a bridge between each other when they both love each other but theyíre worlds apart on so many other things.

Those were the things that were important to us to really show, and not just show in one episode, but really to carry it through a whole season, carry it through a whole arc and really, really get down and dirty with it. Not just show the pretty sides of it, but show the uglier sides of it so that everybody can gain a better understanding on their own, form their own opinions.

Weíre not trying to answer every question for everyone. Weíre just trying to show what the situation can really be like. To both of us, I think thatís a more interesting way to show it rather than just say hereís what it is. Hereís the perfect politically correct answer to everything, and letís go with that. You know what I mean?

Lee isnít afraid to tackle those subjects, which is why I love him because Iím not afraid to tackle those subjects, especially when itís coming through the talent of his lens.

Jerry: Great. That was the best answer ever. Just on a side note. Thank you so much for marrying all the gay people at the Grammyís. That meant so much to so many people. It must have been a great experience for you too, as well, to be there.

Queen Latifah: You know, it was a great experience, and two of my best friends got married, and I didnít even know they were getting married until they wanted to have my name on their marriage certificate. That situation has the same gravitas that Iím talking about in this situation.

I wish you could see behind the scenes the things that I thought about and went through to actually do that. Then, these are the kind of conversations that are important to have to really allow everyone to move everything forward but to have real conversations all along the way.

Jerry: Awesome. Well, come visit us in Chicago. Thank you so much for today.

Queen Latifah: Thank you. Iím always done to come to Chicago.

Moderator: Okay, and our next question comes from the line of Ayan Romero with Please go ahead.

Ayan: Hi. Great to talk to you. Going off of what youíve been talking about, Carlotta and Pastor Bobby, he just found out that her daughter was trans. How is that going to change their relationship going forward? Is it going to get more serious now?

Queen Latifah: Well, I think whatís interesting about Carlotta and Pastor Bobby is they are both very flawed people who had a very checkered past and found Jesus and found some peace and growth and forgiveness in Jesus by following Jesus. But, their lives are still what their lives are, and they come with the baggage they come with and their experiences, so I think what youíre going to see isóand, they also greatly care for each other. Theyíre in love, so Pastor Bobby is one of the few sweet spots in Carlottaís life.

All of these truths are going to make it a lot more messy, and it was one of the easy escapes. It was like going to the movies for her. For a couple of hours, she could escape from everything going on in her life and just be in church and be in his arms and have someone who could care for her for a change where sheís normally caring for everything else.

So, I think she tried to protect that relationship from her life to just hold on to this little piece of Heaven for as long as she could, but now that things are starting to come out, he wanted to be more in her life, he wanted to get into it, and now heís going to get it. She may be surprised by his response to it.

She still loves him, and thereís a lot of love there, but the fact that she kept secrets from him is probably what hurts him most, and the concern about how heíll react to the whole truth of her is what may concern her most, so weíre going to see that explored, and itís going to takeóthereís going to be some powerful television coming up. Like something youíve never seen on TV in the next couple episodes.

So, I think definitely tune into that because itís something Iíve never seen and Iíve never done, and actually knowing Tyrese and Amiyah in real life and them knowing me, it was one for the hardest things weíve had to play this whole season because we have such love and care for each other.

But, to go where these characters had to go to be honest, oh man, we all had to hug each other afterwards and cry. The tears did not stop when they said cut. We needed a moment to pull ourselves together just to go on the next take because it took so much out of us. So, I hope everybody checks it out.

Ayan: Well, Iím really looking forward to seeing it after all that. Then, I guess maybe on a lighter note, with Paris Jackson coming to set, did you get to spend time with her? Did you share any scenes with her?

Queen Latifah: No. No, because they donít let me do that [audio disruption] but every once in a while. No, but I was very, very excited to know that she was doing this role. This is such a fun role. I canít wait until you all see it. This is a fun role.

This character, Rachel, gets to give the business to these girls who think they know it all, who think theyíre so smart, so tough, so strong, and they know everything and so determined. But, this character that she plays gets to give them the business and be funny at the same time. Itís so shady.

I came in the next day after Paris shot, and everyone told me she knocked it out the park. They said she was fantastic. She rocked it. So, Iím glad she chose us to be that first getting her toes wet in acting. Iím glad she chose us and chose Star and chose this role. God bless Lee for his connections because this was a good one. I hope this is the beginning for some great things for her.

Ayan: I cannot wait. Well, this has been great. Thank you.

Alex: We have time for one more question.

Moderator: Okay. Our final question will come from the line of Randy Shulman with Metro Weekly. Please go ahead.

Randy: Hi, how are you?

Queen Latifah: Hi, Randy.

Randy: Hi.

Queen Latifah: Good, brother. How you doing?

Randy: Good, thanks. So, I want to ask you a broader question. Politically, obviously, weíre in a very, very strange time in this country. Do you think that itís important for culture to follow suit in the sense that is it up to our television shows, is it up to our movies to actually start to even start to take on even more, over the next four years, to take on more either way, either side, more of the fight? Or, are we purely for entertainment? What do you think?

Queen Latifah: You said take on more of the what?

Randy: Take on more of the fight. Bring up more of the issues that are going on, on either side of the issues.

Queen Latifah: Well, Iíll tell you. I think music and art are one of the greatest ways that have moved the conversation along throughout history. So, absolutely I think Iíve always felt like we shouldóI donít know if we should take on the fight in terms ofóI canít advise someone to choose a particular side here or there or tell them what their opinion should be.

To me, whatís important is not being afraid to bring up the conversation. You have to at least bring up the conversation. Why would you not? To me, for any brave, creative person, to not be afraid to deal with whatís going on in our actual world we live in is to be part of the greatest creative thing theyíve ever done. Thereís so much to choose from, so much to be on, so much to draw from. So, would we not want to go for it?

Itís what made Norman Lear one of the greatest ever is the fact that he wasnít afraid to jump into these topics and push the envelope and made some of the greatest TV ever invented. The flip side of that is the escapism of it all. It also creates on the other side an opportunity for people to allow everyone to check out from all that serious s*** for a minute and just escape, have fun, make a musical, or have some fantasy, something that would never happen on real earth.

So, I think it feeds the other side of it. I think it feeds the escapism as much as it feeds the reality. Now, itís just a question of what you want to do with it, but I think we should definitely move on it because these have always been serious times. Thereís always been important things going on to be discussed.

I think for all the up-and-coming talent to not capitalize on that, and not just up-and-coming talent, but everyone whoís around. Whoever is not afraid to put their dollars to projects that push the envelope, I think will be rewarded at some point for sure.

On the flip sideóIíll wrap it up. Iím sorry. You just got me thinking.

Randy: No, no. But, finish your thought. On the flip sideó

Queen Latifah Well, no. Iím just saying on the flip side it also gives an avenue to all the things that are not so serious, that are not so deep, or rather kind. Iím not going to say not deep, but not just topical things youíre going to see on CNN or Fox News and MSNBC every night. You know what I mean? Or all day and 24 hours a day to talk about every day or worry about every day, but really some place to say hey, weíre going to be alright.

Everythingís going to work out. Stay positive by just taking a moment to breathe away from all that and remind yourself that we make our world. So, we can make it different. We can make it better. I donít ever want to become a cynic.

Iíve worked really hard all my life to stay positive because I donít like the other side. I know the other side, and Iím not giving into that. So, for me, I always want to encourage people to not be afraid to just create a new future and hopefully a more positive one.

Randy: Well, I just wanted to follow-up on that because you brought up Norman Lear, and I find that interesting. Lee Daniels, I think, is one of the people in this industry who actually does find the balance between being able to entertain us but able to bring up social issues through the entertainment, and Lear did that as well. Iíve watched some All in the Family recently. I havenít seen them in 30 years. You couldnít get away with that show on television today, All in the Family. Itís almost shocking.

Queen Latifah: To be honest with you, itís only shocking because somewhere along the line, we got so afraid to actually talk about the real deal from a real personís mouth that itís shocking right now. Now, youíre shocked by the things youíre hearing that people are saying, but it wouldnít be so shocking if we had dealt with this in a real way all along.

Itís only shocking because we had a deficit of honesty. Itís the reason why people are confused is that thereís actually racism and sexism and classism still existing. No, we have a black President. That didnít happen. Yes it does, all the time.

Itís just we havenít talked about it through media, which is a way that weíve always watched. You wanted to get home and watch this show because you would hear things that came out so off-color, but you also saw various opinions through the conversations that were being had in an entertainment way.

I think that somewhere along the line we just said okay, this is too much, and the powers that be became afraid to really support people who had the ability to, through creative entertainment, these films, this television, this music really express those things properly and allow those conversations to happen.

So, now, cut to all these years later when you havenít really seen that, itís like holy what. I canít believe they said that, but theyíre still saying that. You know what I mean?

Itís just Norman had a way to make it funny, make it entertaining, so I think in the next four years, thereís going to be a lot brought up, and weíre already seeing it bringing up those very same emotions, those very same tensions.

So, Iím hoping that entertainment can be one of the ways that we can allow it to breathe a little bit, blow off some steam with it, rather than just have it be a powder keg and explode. We really just deal with it and ease it. Weíve had a way to smooth the edges and allow people to express themselves without it being so super contentious. You know what I mean? To the point of violence, for instance, or war.

So, those are the things Iím hoping will happen with just the tone of the way things are now.

Randy: Okay. Thank you [audio disruption].

Alex: Okay, and on that noteó

Queen Latifah: Heís cutting out.

Alex: So, sorry. We need to wrap up the call. We want to thank everybody for joining us. Thank you to Queen Latifah for taking the time to speak with everybody today. We really appreciate the time, and thank you, everybody, for joining us on the call.

Queen Latifah: As your next president, I just want to say God bless America, and God bless the United States. You all take care, and enjoy Star.

Moderator: That does conclude your conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&Tís Executive TeleConference service. You may disconnect your lines.

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