Rapper and actress Queen Latifah has cemented herself as a legend in the entertainment industry. She has empowered individuals through her lyricism and the roles she brought to life in film and television projects have left many inspired. The Newark native—whose real name is Dana Owens—will be honored by Harvard University for her contributions to Black culture, CBS News reported.
The Massachusetts-based Ivy League school will give Owens the W. E. B. Du Bois Medal. The award is bestowed upon influential trailblazers from different industries who have made major contributions towards pushing Black culture forward. “The W. E. B. Du Bois Medal is Harvard’s highest honor in the field of African and African American studies. It is awarded to individuals in the United States and across the globe in recognition of their contributions to African and African American culture and the life of the mind,” read the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research’s website.
Other 2019 medal recipients include artist Kerry James Marshall, philanthropist and entrepreneur Robert F. Smith, BET co-founder Sheila C. Johnson, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie G. Bunch III and poet Rita Dove. The awarding ceremony will take place on October 22.
The group will join a long list of prestigious previous medalists who are the epitome of Black excellence. Amongst those who have received W. E. B. Du Bois Medals are comedian Dave Chappelle, athlete and activist Colin Kaepernick, director Ava DuVernay and poet Maya Angelou. This year is shaping up to be nothing short of epic for Owens. In February she announced that she was creating an affordable housing complex in her hometown in an effort to level the playing field when it comes to housing equity.