Queen Latifah is ensuring that women onscreen get the respect they deserve. And the Oscar-nominated actress said the best way to do that is to put women behind the lens.
It’s why she’s partnered with Procter & Gamble and Tribeca Studios for the second installment of the Queen Collective, which aims to mentor and support female directors of color, bringing their stories to life. This year, the two films selected are Samantha Knowles’ short documentary about changing hair discrimination, Tangled Roots, and Nadine Natour and Ugonna Okpalaoka’s short doc Gloves Off, which follows a D.C. police officer, who also moonlights as a competitive boxer.
“We’ve always thought with the intention in mind to make sure we gave people opportunities who would not get them if we didn’t do it,” Queen Latifah said on Saturday during the ESSENCE Festival of Culture.
“There was a major disparity in the amount of women who are behind the camera’s lens,” the singer and songwriter continued during a conversation moderated by ESSENCE’s senior entertainment editor Joi-Marie McKenzie.
Latifah said she wanted to do something to change that disparity in hopes of changing overall how women and girls are portrayed onscreen. She and her partners noted that if women are behind the camera then what typically happens is there’s “a more accurate portrayal of women and girls in front of the camera [and] in the media that you see,” she explained. “Put women behind the lens and give them the power to create.”
“We decided to start with directors,” she added. “We find that directors, women directors, will hire a much more diverse crew.”
“I shouldn’t even have to start this initiative,” Queen noted, “but there’s a bunch of stuff we shouldn’t have to do at this point.”
To view the two films, Tangled Roots and Gloves Off, log onto BET.