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Queen Latifah Says that Coming Out Now May Be Harder Than Ever

Queen Latifah Says that Coming Out Now May Be Harder Than Ever

Queen Latifah Says that Coming Out Now May Be Harder Than Ever

Latifah says homophobia is as prevalent as in Bessie Smith's time, although expressed in a more subtle way.

Homophobia is as prevalent in show business as it was in Bessie Smith’s day, and coming out may be harder than ever, says Queen Latifah, who plays the great bisexual blues singer in the HBO biopic Bessie.

Smith, a star of the 1920s and ’30s, “was probably more open then than people are now,” Latifah told the U.K.’s Metro newspaper in an interview about the film, airing on British channel Sky Atlantic tonight. Prejudice is just as prevalent now, she said, but people have learned to be “politically correct” about it.

People “can be just as racist, sexist, and classist now as then but they just won’t say it in the same way now,” she told Metro. “They’ll kind of hide it.” The full interview is not available online but has been summarized by the U.K.’s Pink News.

Latifah has often been rumored to be lesbian or bisexual, but she has adamantly said she will never discuss her personal life publicly. She has expressed appreciation for her LGBT fans and has previously addressed the topic of homophobia.

In a previous interview about the film, notes Pink News, she said, “People’s ideas in general are antiquated when it comes to who you love. We haven’t moved as quickly as we probably should. … Who you choose to marry is really up to you and it’s not something you should be judged on. I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw.”

In the Metro interview, she also said she can relate to Smith because “I’ve kind of been through some of the things that Bessie has been through. I’ve lived a little bit of her and I can speak from a more authentic place.”

Latifah has been nominated for an Emmy for the film, which premiered on HBO in May. The awards will be presented September 20.

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Trudy Ring