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Harvard University Honors Queen Latifah For Her Contributions To Black Culture, Delivers Powerful Speech You Need To Hear

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Major congrats to Queen Latifah! Harvard University recognized her for all of her contributions to black culture. More inside...

Queen Latifah’s rise from a rapper to a bonafide Hollywood actress and film producer is nothing short of amazing. The Jersey girl made her own lane in the entertainment industry and soared like none other. Yes Queen!

Harvard recognized the multi-hyphenated entertainer with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal for her contributions to black history and black culture. The award is named after Du Bois, a scholar, writer, editor, and civil rights pioneer who became the first black student to earn a doctorate from Harvard in 1895.

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The Girls Trip star – along with six other recipients – gathered at the school’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research for the ceremony.

“New Jersey in the building!” Queen said when she hit the stage to accept the honor. “I feel so honored to be up here and among such great people who’ve done such accomplished things.”

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The Hollywood actress – who’s starring in the upcoming Little Mermaid Live! – opened up about her struggles transitioning from rap to film.

“Crossing over from rap to film, the people at our agency told my partner I could never be an A-list artist,” the Grammy Award winner said, pointing out her longtime business partner Shakim Compere in the audience. “Wrong thing to tell him. He was determined to make sure I became an A-list actress.”

Queen shared how she handles stress sometimes.

“I get in the backyard sometimes and I scream ‘Fight! Fight Fight!’” she said. “That’s me fighting for my life. Fighting against drugs and alcohol. Fighting against mental illness, fighting against racism, sexism, all of it. You’re gonna have to fight.”



The Oscar nominated actress told the audience – which was filled with high school students – that they can achieve anything they put their mind to, but they have to put in the work.

“I want to speak to all of you students out here, and let you know that you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it, and you will have to work hard for it. Just understand that there will be times when you will have to stand alone. There will be nobody else that will believe in your dream. They will think you are out of your mind. You have to be strong, and be courageous, and know that if you believe in it, it’s gonna happen. Don’t give up. Do not give up. Do not quit. Fight for it.”


A word.

The other honorees include black billionaire Robert F. Smith, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television Sheila Johnson, poet and educator Elizabeth Alexander, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie Bunch III, poet Rita Dove, and artist Kerry James Marshall.

Harvard student Aoki Lee Simmons - daughter of RussellKimora Lee Simmons - was in the mix to pay tribute to Queen.


Congrats, Queen!

Days before, she trekked it back to birth city of Newark, NJ:

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Queen Latifah (@queenlatifah) on


Photos: Getty

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