Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah in 2010, Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Birth Name: Dana Elaine Owens

Place of Birth: Newark, Essex, New Jersey, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 10, 1970

Ethnicity: African-American, some European

Queen Latifah is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actress, television host, and producer. Her name, Latifah, is Arabic for “delicate” and “gentle.”

Queen is the daughter of Rita Lamae (Bray) and Lancelot Amos Owens. She was raised Baptist. Her brother, Lancelot Owens, a police officer, died in an accident in 1992.

Both of her parents are black. One of her paternal great-great-grandmothers was white.

Queen Latifah’s paternal great-great-great-grandparents, Francis “Frank” Owens and Lovey Flury/Fleury, were free persons of colour in Princess Anne County, Virginia, during slavery. The show Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2020), traced Queen Latifah’s ancestry back to Juggy Owens, a midwife, born c. 1766, who was also a free person of colour. Juggy was born into slavery, and was freed in 1792 by her owner Mary Old. Juggy’s mother’s name was Grace.

Queen Latifah’s paternal grandfather was Amos Owens, Jr. (the son of Amos Owens and Irene Coates). Queen Latifah’s grandfather Amos was born in Essex County, New Jersey. Queen Latifah’s great-grandfather Amos was the son of Thomas Owens and Virginia “Jennie” Jones. Irene was the daughter of Henry Coates, who was black, and of Edna Hallion, who was white, possibly with Irish ancestry. Henry was from Virginia and Edna was from New York. The two married in 1906 and lived in New Jersey, where interracial marriage was never illegal.

Queen Latifah’s paternal grandmother was Inez Sentristine Hale (the daughter of Charles Custer/Custard Hale and Charlotte/Charlottie King). Inez was born in Virginia. Charles was the son of Robert Hale and Charlotte. Queen Latifah’s great-grandmother Charlotte was the daughter of Thomas King and Mary.

Queen Latifah’s maternal grandfather was named Leon Jones/Henry Lee Bray. Leon was possibly born in Old Jonesboro, Jefferson, Alabama.

Queen Latifah’s maternal grandmother was named Katherine/Catherine Viola Waters (the daughter of Lula Waters).

Queen Latifah has said:

I’m black and we think that all of us think have Native American in us, and if I find out I don’t have any Native American in me, I’m gonna be kinda mad about that… I’m pretty sure I have some Blackfoot and Cherokee Indian in me… I’ve got a lot of Russian in me, apparently.

Queen Latifah’s appearance on Finding Your Roots indicated no Russian nor Native American ancestry.

Sources: Genealogy of Queen Latifah – https://www.geni.com

Marriage record of Queen Latifah’s parents – https://www.familysearch.org

Marriage record of Queen Latifah’s paternal great-grandparents, Charles Custer/Custard Hale and Charlotte/Charlottie King – https://www.familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

36 Responses

  1. italiano90 says:

    Why is European added onto her ethnicity? She’s African American with two African American parents.

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