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.