The Queen Collective aims to support, mentor, and uplift diverse female filmmakers to help close the gender and racial gaps behind the camera.
Queen Latifa started to make waves in the new and fresh genre of hip-hop back in 1989, with her female empowerment hit ‘Ladies First.’ She was one of the first female rappers to win worldwide respect in the male-dominated industry earning her the title as ‘hip-hop’s first lady.’
30 years on, the rapper, actress, producer and role model– now a long time veteran in the fight for the rights of women and ethnic minorities — is launching an initiative to shatter the glass ceiling for the next generation of queens.
The idea for The Queen Collective was born out of the huge disparity between the volume of male and female directors in Hollywood film.
“Generally, a movie hires around 150 people. That’s 150 jobs that can be filled by women, women of various backgrounds, and men of course. I’d like to see my cast and crew look like the world. I don’t want to look out, and just see one type of person,” said Latifah at a press roundtable discussion during Tribeca Film Festival weekend.
Partnering with proctor and gamble and Tribeca Film Festival, the collective with Latifa herself at its helm selected two female directors to support their projects from A-Z. This included financing them and finding a source of distribution which they secured through Hulu.
At the Tribeca Film Festival which took place from 24 April — 5 May, the two hopeful filmmakers, Haley Elizabeth Anderson and B. Monet premiered their short films.
Anderson’s film, If There Is Light, follows protagonist 14-year-old Janiyah Blackmon who wrestles with her new life in New York City as her mother tries to move her family out of the shelter system and into a stable home.
Monet’s short documentary film, Ballet After Dark tells the story a young woman who found the strength to survive after a sexual attack by creating and organisation that is helping sexual abuse and domestic violence survivors find healing after trauma through dance therapy.
Queen Latifa hopes that next year, The Queen Collective will be able to take it up a notch by increasing the number of women on the programme.
In other areas of philanthropy, she is is giving back to her hometown of Newark, New Jersey, by building $14m worth of affordable housing in the city.