File under “How Did We Miss This?”: Queen Latifah will headline the Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival May 19.
This will be Latifah's first appearance at a gay pride festival. The Long Beach event, which began in 1984, is one of the country's biggest celebrations. In previous years, Jennifer Hudson has performed.
Latifah began her career as a rapper in the late '80s. Her first album, All Hail the Queen, was released when she was only 19. She's long promoted female empowerment, and she, along with other female emcees like MC Lyte, proved to the male-dominatd hip-hop world that women rappers were to be respected as equals.
Over the years, she's shifted into acting, though she did announce in January she's working on a new album set to be released in 2012.
Her last album, Persona, came out in 2009. Addressing rumors she is a lesbian, she joked she would call it The L Word.
Also scheduled to perform at Long Beach's Pride are Evelyn Champagne King and the Village People.