Queen Latifah talks using her platform to support other women

The rapper and actress says noticed the sexism many women faced in the entertainment industry after becoming a breakout star and decided to do something.

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On Thursday, during a panel for Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit, Queen Latifah spoke out about using her success and influence to help out other women and minorities.

The rap legend and actress explained that she had started to notice the sexism many women faced in the entertainment industry after becoming a breakout rap star and decided she wasn’t going to stand for it.

“When you get to a record company and you realize that you’re not getting the same marketing dollars as your male counterparts in the same business — you’re already fighting,” she said. “You’re fighting, number one, to be a female rapper. You’re fighting to get the same dollars and marketing that your male counterparts would get, an uphill battle. I was always fighting from the beginning, so getting in a comfortable position to fight was no big deal — let’s go, who want it?”

She added that she tried to make a conscious effort to make sure that underserved communities were represented in her projects.

“I could make a movie like Beauty Shop, that shows a woman just trying to become a successful beautician against all odds and employ other people,” she said. “Each one of these things is an opportunity to make change, and it doesn’t have to be huge but each little step and choosing to show that image of a woman trying to make it with a young child and being able to go against all odds and be able to pull it off, those are the women I know and their story needs to be told.”

What’s more, Latifah insisted that in talking about sexism, it was important to get both men and women involved.

“We have to think about our young men and we have to think about some of the pressures we’re putting on them,” she said. “It is about women and the power that we have and what we deserve, but we also have to think about the images we’re putting out there for our young men. And some of our grown men are apparently still boys and they need to get the proper re-education about how to look at women.”