Queen Latifah said this week that the
decision to play a lesbian bank robber in the 1996 film Set It Off
The role of Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims
in the film jumpstarted Latifah's movie career.
In an interview with InStyle,
Tracee Ellis Ross asked Latifah whether there were any career
decisions that were hard for her to make.
“When I got the role of amateur bank
robber Cleo Sims in Set It Off, I sat down with my younger
siblings and told them, ‘Listen, I’m playing a gay character.
Your classmates might tease you or say negative things about it,’ ”
told Ross. “But I’m doing it because I believe I can bring
positive attention to the gay African-American community, and I
believe that I can do a great job as an actor.’ They understood,
and when those things inevitably happened in school, they were OK
Latifah, 46, has refused to discuss
rumors about her own sexuality.
In 2008, she told The New York Times
that she would not discuss her personal life in public, adding that
she doesn't care if people think she's gay.
“Assume whatever you want,” Latifah
said. “You do it anyway.”
Queen Latifah currently plays Carlotta
Brown, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon who does not fully
support her transgender daughter, Cotton Brown, in Fox's Star.