Between Elena Kagan and Queen Latifah, I’m wondering which one is more of a closet case?
While it’s none of my business whom Kagan or Latifah go to bed with, it must be hard to either go to extraordinary lengths to deny your sexuality or to pretend you’re something you’re not.
Latifah’s new movie, Just Wright, dropped this weekend to just okay reviews (46% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes.com) and just okay box office ($8.5 million gross). In many of the negative reviews the same words “miscast” and “no chemistry” between Queen Latifah and her co-star, Common keep popping up.
When I saw the trailer I knew Just Wright looked like a movie made from a script left on the copier. Just another predictable and safe romantic comedy where the good, but plain girl falls in love with a dumb jock that ignores her in favor of a sexy bad girl. You can see where all this going miles away before it gets there and apparently the target audience for this kind of trifling fare, young Black women, found somewhere else to be this weekend. They sure weren’t at the movie theaters to see Common try to act like he’s head over heels in love with Queen Latifah. Apparently, they liked it better the last time when it was called Love and Basketball.
You might think with Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood dominating the multiplex screens, there would be an audience for two charismatic and good-looking leads in Queen Latifah and Common, even if they are more accomplished as rappers than actors. But I don’t know anyone who was even mildly interested in this movie. Then again, maybe even women who love “rom coms” weren’t interested in such a corny, clichéd story. Or it could be a love story with two Black leads is a tough ticket to soon if Tyler Perry’s isn’t in the title.
And maybe Orville Lloyd Douglas at GayBlackCandianMan.com had the answer why Just Wright was all wrong on a weekend where it should have killed.
“Nobody wants to see a closeted lesbian Queen Latifah in a straight film role,” Douglas wrote.
Okay, there is that…
The rumor that Queen Latifah is into girls is one that has floated around long before she played a lesbian bank robber in Set It Off. I’ve heard it, you’ve heard it and Latifah’s heard it and while she’s not flat-out denying it, she isn’t confirming it either as she said in a 2007 interview for Ebony magazine:
Asked about the stories swirling on the Internet and elsewhere that claim she is romantically involved with a female fitness trainer, Latifah immediately says: “No comment on that at all. I’m done commenting on all that … It’s ridiculous, I know me and that’s all I need to know.
“And if the readers don’t know me, then that’s one part they aren’t going to get to know. Those are my people but they don’t sleep with me,” she says in a very even tone that is very consistent with her relaxed mood. “It feels so invasive. It’s the one thing I don’t think people need to know about.”
I seriously doubt those who love or hate Latifah will have any more or less of a reason to do so should she come out. I argued for years with people who were CONVINCED Luther Vandross wasn’t gay. Right up to the point he sang “Killing Me Softly” and didn’t change the gender. At that point even the diehards had to say, “Okay, that’s a little odd…”
Latifah isn’t obligated to be the spokesperson for any cause or advance any agenda except her own. She might be an inspiration to closeted Black lesbians the same way Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O’Donnell were when they came out, but it’s her call to make
Blogger and activist Jasmyne Cannick weighed the pros and cons of Latifah owning up to her less-than secret life after the Ebony interview
Unlike previous statements where Latifah claimed that she was still “looking for a good brotha” now says she is done commenting on one particular situation which is a private matter.
All I got to say is that you either are or you’re not. And most of us know which category Latifah falls into.
And while I am not advocating that Latifah be outed in any way, I am a bit perplexed as to how a woman that’s supposed to be a role model for strength can not show any of her own as it relates to her sexuality. All of these word games. “I’m looking for a good brotha” and “It’s ridiculous, I know me and that’s all I need to know.”
First of all, most people who are heterosexual when asked about being gay will emphatically set the record straight. And they’ll straight up say, I’m straight. Some men will even try to beat you down if you insinuate otherwise. And in the case of women who are straight, you know the line…“I’m strictly dickly.” There’s no jumping around the bush and all of that madness about it being a private matter. To be even more blunt, it’s usually not in heterosexuals nature to be so evasive about being straight. No, that’s usually reserved for those of us in the closet or those of us that aren’t completely comfortable with talking about our gay sexuality. So that alone would make Latifah suspect in my eyes if I didn’t know any better already.
I’m sure if I asked my 87 year-old grandmother today if she thought Latifah was gay she’s say yes. And if I followed that up with, but would you still go and see her in a movie, she’d say yes to that too. The reason for that is simple. When it comes to celebrities, I don’t think people care the way they would if the person in question were a Senator, Governor, quarterback, short-stop, or point guard. The other and perhaps most important reason that I don’t think her sexuality would be that much of an issue is that, what most gay people who think they’re pulling off straight don’t seem to realize is that people know. They may not say anything to your face about it, but they know. I don’t care how long the weave is, how packed the MAC is, or how high the heels are, you are who you are and it always comes through loud and clear regardless of how hard you try to hide it. Even in interviews when the simplest answer you could ever give to the question of your sexuality is either yes I am gay, no I am straight, or I am bisexual. End of story. All of the shucking and jiving and elaborate drawn out answers that are strangely reminiscent of the dances done by politicians on subjects they’d rather not be speaking on, end up telling the story for you.
Elisa Kagan is getting sweated by friends and foes alike wanting to know which team she’s playing on, but then she’s looking for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. The stakes are a bit higher than the private life of a rapper-turned-actress. Personally, my life will go on unchanged if Latifah fesses up or not. Coming out is a personal choice and continuing to keep up a front nobody is buying is her choice too.
In a few weeks after Just Wright quietly slips out of its theatrical run for an equally unremarkable stint on DVD, Latifah will assess why the film tanked and conclude it was Common’s shortcomings as a romantic leading man or audiences preferring her in a supporting instead of leading role. One stinker isn’t going to squash her career.
What she should be worried about is if supporting roles are all she can do. Romantic comedies work only when the audience accepts the premise the actors could reasonably have the hots for each other. That is complicated when there are serious doubts Queen Latifah even likes men.
When a “secret” becomes a “secret” everybody knows what’s the point? Queen Latifah likes girls and SO WHAT? Don’t make no difference to me. I don’t like her any more or less than I did when I thought she was straight.