Last week, Huffington Post’s article, ‘Queen Latifah Says She Did Not Come Out At Long Beach Pride Festival’ confirmed that although Queen Latifah performed at Pride and affirmed the crowd with messages of love, she in fact never revealed her sexual preference.
Prior to the event, online speculation commenced regarding whether or not the appearance would be a coming out opportunity, Queen states, “that definitely wasn’t the case.”
Throughout her 24 years in the industry, she has often expressed that her personal life is one she would like to keep to herself. Further elaborating, she claims, “I’ve never dealt with the question of my personal life in public. It’s just not gonna happen.”
And with this statement Queen revoked the media’s attempt to invade.
I believe that as a human being, Queen Latifah is entitled to her privacy. She does not owe it to the LBGTQ community, the media, or her fans to publicly address her sexuality. Nor should she be pressured to discuss any matter she does not wish to disclose.
In my opinion, coming out should not be a coerced experience. Indeed, it is an empowering act, but one should come to that decision when they are most comfortable with their sexuality and environment. For far too long society created stereotypes surrounding queer people of color and their private lives, and it is now our responsibility to revoke that power.
While some are discontent with Queen’s posture, a lesson can be acquired; which is to always demand respect and not allow others to rewrite your history for their own agendas. Oprah Winfrey embraces this attitude by openly discussing her past experiences, often revealing ‘truths’ before the media does it for her.
As queer women of color, we must embrace our experiences, pleasant and unpleasant, and not allow our stories to be misconstrued in the media. If we do not, they have the potential to be erased from history completely, much like the history of Native Americans and American slavery. Whether it is a coming out experience, trauma recovery, or experience(s) with discrimination, it becomes the individual’s duty to re-claim these narratives. In this manner, sharing her-stories becomes an empowering act allowing women to regain power in situations where it may have been revoked.
It feels as if people want Queen Latifah to come out for all the wrong reasons. They want her to function as the spokesperson for Black queer liberation, and truthfully, that may not be in her agenda. It is unfair to assume because of one’s identity they are ready and willing to be a representative for “the cause.”
So regardless of Queen Latifah’s sexuality, her stance on privacy speaks immensely to the inner struggles of those who have been coerced into undesired situations and those dealing with the ramifications of the trauma of media outings. In her case, revealing her sexuality is more than a personal gesture; it is a political one as well.