Queen Latifah on how her role in ‘The Equalizer’ delivers justice for Black women

The hip-hop icon discusses starring in the series as a vigilante and shares her thoughts on what Britney Spears has endured throughout her musical career.
10:49 | 02/12/21

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Transcript for Queen Latifah on how her role in ‘The Equalizer’ delivers justice for Black women
The fabulous queen latifah is a hip-hop icon, a grammy and Emmy winner and an Oscar nominee, and now she's starring in a new series as a vigilante who is taking names and kicking you know what. We got a 5:00 appointment. Shut up. Asbestos inspection? You've learned a few things. I am physically afraid of her. Please welcome the multitalented queen latifah. I am physically afraid of her. Now that's an intro, joy. That's a first. So -- So funny. Joy, don't you ever say you're afraid of me. You know that. I know. You can snap on me ten ways to Sunday. It is a reboot of -- Yes. In the past your character has always been played by men. That's the thing I wanted to make clear. Most recently by Denzel Washington himself in the movies, and now you're taking the reins. I love it. What does it mean to you to step into this role as it's been reimagined? Well, judging by that picture, I think I need to get me one of those good rain shots that Denzel had. Get wet and you know what I mean? Wet with a machine gun. That's what I'm talking about. I'm going to have to make sure we throw that in the script. I was a fan of the -- of the show as a kid. I watched it when I was a younger kid, and I like the idea. I've always been one who likes the idea of, you know, the good guy winning, the good girl winning if you will, and justice, and it was a show that was about seeking justice for those who weren't able to get it for themselves, and someone jumping in on their behalf. I was kind of raised that way by my father, and my mom and my father, you know, he was -- he's a retired tactical officer, and my brother was a cop and, you know, my father has been on every -- pretty much every movie and film set with me just protecting me, you know, and just kind of being my support system, but you know, he taught us all this stuff. He taught us how to shoot and how to fight, but he taught us only to use it in defensive. Your mother, your brother, or people who couldn't stick up for themselves. This plays right into my life story, and women have been equalizing for eternity, and you -- you women of "The view" know that. You equalize every day, you know? Everything you have to do, everything we have to carry, you know, why not? You know, why not see a woman, and we do this in real life. So it's time we see it on network television, you know, see a woman equalizer. Well, I love this show. I love you in this part. It kind of gave me "Set it off" vibes. You know what I'm saying? I loved it. You say you signed on for this part because you like the thought of delivering some justice as a black woman on network television. I felt that in my soul. What did you mean by that when you said it? Well, you know, I tell you since I was 17 and started my rap career back in the late '80s, not the date myself, but I started traveling around the world, and I saw the images of black people, American black people around the world, and how we looked, and we were -- we weren't depicted as how we really are. We were made to look like the muggers and the thieves and the murderers and, you know, everything that we are not. And I was always in a place of having to explain that to -- to different people in different places around the world, that you have the wrong idea of what black Americans really are about, and who we really are. That same tng happens here in America, and so it's time that we see what we really are about, that you see the true dynamic reality that is the black experience, that is black women, and we're not all the same, you know, as well. So you shouldn't -- we shouldn't be painted with one broad stroke, and that's happened to us too often in the past, and, you know, too much of our amazing contribution to the -- to America and to the world has been, you know, blighted, you know, literally removed from history. I mean, we have people that are living right now based on the cells of a black woman. So, you know -- Mm-hmm. Every pharmaceutical company knows it. It's not a big secret, be you, you know, if people don't know about these things, then they get the wrong idea about everyone's contribution to the world, and so I just think it's important in that sense that we get to see that, hey. You know, we fight for justice too. We fight for our country until we fight for the world, we fight for our kids. We fight for -- we fight for people that we -- that we don't even like. You know what I mean? But we deliver justice. You know what I mean? And justice is justice. So it, you know, it's going to come through the lens of queen latifah, and hopefully people will feel me and they'll get to see a smart and extremely intelligent -- Beautiful, fierce. Adaptable. Beautiful -- thank you. I'll take that. And able to handle these paws at the same time. You know what I mean? So I think it's going to be a lot of fun, you know, this is pulling from every part of what I can do as an actor, and physically, mentally, spiritually, I've taken a lot of baths. Let's just put it like that. Well, queen, earlier this week on the show, we had a long conversation about the new Britney spears documentary which among other things highlights the intense media microscope Britney was under and the sexism she endured in the industry. You have been bringing awareness to the misogyny since you first stepped onto the music scene. Even as outspoken as you were, can you relate to her experience? How did you navigate it, and how do you view the recognizing of sexism so many in our entertainment industry have been subjected to? Oh my god. I'm just so thankful that I had some amazing women in my path to sort of navigate and protect me from a lot of things as well as men, you know, in my partner able to step out in front of me and sort of take some of those bullets on my behalf because, you know, if you don't have a support system around you, number one, people who care about you, care about your best interest and want to, you know, really protect you, you're already in trouble. You know, I've -- I've always prayed because none of us are perfect, but I will always pray to god, please just don't spank me in front of the world. You know what I mean? Because I fall down. I've fallen down flat on my face too, but I've just begged, you know, like, lord, please don't spank me in front of everybody, you know, because I know I deserved the spanking, but please don't let it happen, but to be young and to have to go through all of the things that she's been through in so much of the public eye is just -- it's so difficult, and to try to bounce back from that, to just -- and you don't even know whether -- do you trust your family? Do you not trust your family? Who is there to surround you and protect you? I want to ask you about one of those strong women. It's women's issues mixed together. It's just crazy. I want to ask you about your mom, Rita Owens. She lost her battle with lung disease in 2018, and you recently worked with our sponsor to create a documentary called "Beyond breathless" which shares her story. Tell us about your mom, and why you decided to raise awareness with this film. Oh. You know, I think "Beyond breathless" is really just there to bring attention to scleraderma which is an autoimmune disease, and "Beyond breathless" airs on February 28th on A&E. I think it's important for us to see the true stories. It's something my friend Regina hall and I have both dealt with, and we've -- our moms even shared the same doctors, and I'm praying for her right now, and I'm praying for her situation as well. There -- I would never have discussed my mother's personal medical situation, and I had the talk show on at the time, but my mother really wanted to share her story because she really wanted to help people. He's the one who chose to make this a public thing. She's the one who felt like other people are -- could be going through this, and I had no idea while I was doing my own talk show that so many people in my audience that would come pretty often -- they just started sending me letters and an article came out about it. They were, like, my mom has that. I had it. So, you know, I think it was just really important to share it because -- just to let people know they're not alone. Yes. It's so lovely to see you, queen latifah. Thank you for coming on the show come back again. Thank you. "The equalizer" airs -- Any time. "The equalizer" Sunday nights. Check your local listings.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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