Queen Latifah claims she used to run with her 'T-shirt off like the boys' until she was told she was a GIRL

'I didn’t know I was a girl, initially.... That had to be explained to me, ‘cause I was running around with my T-shirt off like the boys'

Queen Latifah claims she used to run with her 'T-shirt off like the boys' until she was told she was a GIRL
Queen Latifah said she 'didn't know she was a girl' (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA: While accepting her award at the inaugural TheGrio Awards, Queen Latifah ended up surprising many with her moving speech on how her identity has evolved over the years and about being the best version of herself.

Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Elaine Owns, explained to the audience how her parents instilled the firm belief of 'Balck is beautiful' into her from a very young age. The actress said, "It all starts with the family for me. My parents raised me with the idea that Black is beautiful. Black is beautiful, Black is beautiful. Black is OK. You start saying it enough and you start believing me. And so I didn’t realize at the time that what they were preparing me for was a whole world.”

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Queen Latifah attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
Queen Latifah (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

Queen Latifah also touched on how she grew up very "freely without ever realizing that she was a girl and that different rules applied to girls and boys in life. The 52-year-old recalled how she had to be told that she was a girl after she kept playing sports with boys with her T-shirt off, just like them. "I didn’t know I was a girl, initially, I had to be told that. That had to be explained to me…. ‘Cause I was running around with my T-shirt off like the boys … I wanted to play the sports and all these things had to be explained to me because I was free. And so my whole life would feel like I’ve been trying to maintain my freedom to be me," she explained. 

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But the Hip-hop's first lady now knows exactly who she is. According to The Jasmine Brand, who first reported this news, the actress said, "I wear these beautiful gowns and dresses because I want to, because that’s part of me. I play in the dirt, I play basketball with the boys — ’cause that’s me. I love who I love because that’s me. I know me. I know what I’ve done and what I haven’t done.” “I realize that life is fleeting and you just gotta do the best you can. Be as honest and genuine as you can. Don’t go for what people are trying to tell you about yourself. It’s not true. I said, don’t go for what people are trying to tell you about yourself," she added.

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Byron Allen Presents TheGrio Awards will premiere on Saturday, November 26, 2022, at CBS from 8 p.m. ET and will be available to stream live on Paramount+.

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