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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
FBC PUBLICITY: Conference Call with
Queen Latifah of Star
February 6, 2017/1:00 p.m. EST
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
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 foxflash.com.
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.
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
Alex: Okay. Weíre ready for some questions.
Moderator: Certainly. [Operator instructions]. Our
first question comes from the line of Paulette Cohn with
parade.com. 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
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
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.
weíll go to the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.
Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Hi. Thanks for taking our
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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
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
Moderator: Okay, and our next question comes
from the line of Ayan Romero with wetpaint.com. Please go
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Queen Latifah: Good, brother. How
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
Randy: Take on more of the fight. Bring up
more of the issues that are going on, on either side of the
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?
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
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.
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.
no. But, finish your thought. On the flip sideó
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Randy: Okay. Thank you [audio disruption].
Alex: Okay, and on that noteó
Queen Latifah: Heís
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.
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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