Queen Latifah (real name Dana Owens) is opening up about the tragic death of her older brother many years ago and how the pain and grief almost ended her career.
As a legendary female rapper, Latifah has always managed to come off as tough, but she revealed her emotional side last week on Angie Martinez' Wetv show "Untold Stories of Hip Hop."
Queen Latifah at the 18th Annual Hollywood Film Awards on Nov. 14, 2014 in California | Photo: Getty Images
"Losing my brother, that was a devastating time for me," Latifah confessed, before revealing they had just bought a house when the tragedy occurred.
"I was missing my family from being on the road so much, and my brother and my mother and myself were gonna live in it. We bought this big ridiculous Jacuzzi and he sat in the Jacuzzi fully dressed and he was like 'Yo! This is gonna be fun!'"
Latifah, 49, further revealed that she was supposed to be with her brother, Lancelot Owens Jr., on the motorcycle the same day he had an accident with it.
Latifah also paid tribute to her brother by wearing the key to his motorcycle while filming
"After my brother passed away, that ruined my world. It rocked me to my core. I’ve never been the same since," she added.
The pain of her brother’s death dulled the feeling of success Latifah could have felt as her career soared. Despite her sitcom "Living Single" and her music blowing up, the New Jersey native said she wasn’t happy.
"Everything was doing great outside of me. People had no idea I was, like, done. I really didn’t care about this music business anymore and I was like 'I quit.'"
Queen Latifah at the BronzeLens Film Festival Women SuperStars Luncheon on Aug. 25, 2017 in Georgia | Photo: Getty Images
The "Set It Off" star admitted that she used substances to help deal with the grief. "I would drink every day. I would smoke every day, and I needed to stop getting wasted," she recalled.
It took the help of fellow artists, Heavy D and Patti LaBelle, who had once lost siblings, to pull Latifah out of her depression. She then channeled her emotions through music, a decision that led to the production of Latifah’s 1993 album "Black Reign."
Queen Latifah performs onstage during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26, 2019 in New Jersey | Photo: Getty Images
The album included a song called "Winki’s Theme," in honor of Latifah's brother, whose nickname was Winki.
"This jam is dedicated to my brother Winki who’s looking down on me from heaven," she says in the song, per Atlanta Black Star. "Watching my every move as usual."
Queen Latifah at VH1 Big In 2015 With Entertainment Weekly Awards on Nov. 15, 2015 in California | Photo: Getty Images
According to HipHopDX, Latifah also paid tribute to her brother by wearing the key to his motorcycle while filming "Living Single" and in her music video for the Grammy-winning single "U.N.I.T.Y."
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