Exclusive: Queen Latifah makes way for female rappers in new clip

Long before she was belting out “Poor Unfortunate Souls” on live TV, Queen Latifah started her career as a female rapper, and ended up making the music industry more fortunate for the women of hip hop who came after her.

In an exclusive clip from Sunday’s Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America on AMC, talking heads, including #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke and rapper MC Lyte, break down how a song like Latifah’s 1989 hit “Ladies First” exposed the rest of America to the plight of black women.

In addition to being “somewhat of a superhero to look up to,” as MC Lyte puts it, Latifah opened doors for women in hip hop like Lauryn Hill to be more political and showed rappers like Nicki Minaj a way to be more business-minded.

“Ladies First,” from Latifah’s debut album All Hail The Queen, not only had empowering, unabashedly feminist lyrics, it features fellow female rapper Monie Love during a time when the industry often only found space for one woman at a time.

To learn more about the impact of Queen Latifah and “Ladies First,” watch Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America on Sunday, Nov. 17 at 12 a.m. ET/PT on AMC.

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