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A Portrait of The "God Mother" of Baltimore's Jazz
All Hail The Queen!
Culture & Community
Ruby Glover
Baltimore Jazz Profiles
The Kendrick /Ross Affair
Page 3

All Hail The Queen! Latifah Spirited, Sassy and Smart at Shero Awards In The Lyric Opera House

By Tamm E  Hunt


Click Photo:Oscar Award Winner as MOTOR MOUTH MAYBELLE "HAIR SPRAY"


The 1st annual Shero Awards and scholarship presented by CoverGirl featured a special performance by Queen Latifah and celebrated women’s impact on our community and benefited the Shero Scholarship Fund on Monday, October 15. Thirty-eight women from Maryland, (8 of who was African American) were cited for the impact and contributions that they have made within the community where they live.

Baltimore’s Lyric Opera House was transformed into a royal court Monday night as Queen Latifah began her opening song from the wings and about 8 bars into the song sauntered center stage and took command. The New Jersey native and one-woman entertainment empire, stunning and statuesque in a floor-length black gown, earned her first standing ovation with the jazzy and audacious "I'm Gonna Live Till I Die" as the opening number. With a warm "What's up Baltimore?" the queen wowed the audience with clever nuances, her strong vocal control and impeccable timing.

Her 13 piece aggregation of musicians and singers Naomi, Romeo and Sheryl created a cushion around the vocalist who performed classic jazz and soul compositions for a multicultural, multi-generational audience of nearly 1,500 fans. The audience's diversity offered unspoken testament to her crossover appeal.

There was never a hint of hip-hop, but street swagger as in seasoned and earthy sass filled with class and style was never too far away, evident in her relaxed and engaging performance. The Queen made smooth segues from one selection into the next, delivering tunes as faithfully as she could to the recorded versions. Her father, Lance Owens, emerged from the wings at her invitation when she adoringly introduced him to the audience and dedicated a song that she remembered as a favorite of her parents during her childhood. Working the crowd, eliciting participation for sing-alongs, hand-claps and finger snaps she wanted to know if we like our music F.U.N.K.Y!.

Truly All must Hail The Queen! Perched upon a black and chrome stool the chanteuse Latifah delicately rendered "Georgia Rose" in the center spotlight and segued into a soothing and sultry Trav'lin Light,  the title track of her new album on Verve Records. Just before she left the audience hungry for more, the Queen revealed that Baltimore has a great significance in her life because her grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins are residents of the great state of Maryland and Baltimore City.

The Oscar Award winning actress moved with grace and poise to set us up for another awaed winning performance. Earning the next standing ovation after the heart wrenching Hairspray number, "I Know Where I've Been".

Before making a false exit she playfully teased the audience. Asking “Do you really want another one?” When a loud encore plea drove her back to end the evening with the Billy Strayhorn/Duke Ellington classic "Lush Life.

The  lights rose and fans had witnessed and experienced a tremendous relent and  show for a magnanimous cause and what a woman can exemplify when she utilizes strength and confidence to eradicate boundaries.

All Hail The Queen! Latifah;Renaissance Woman.

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