Talking to the Metro, about her recent role as legendary bisexual blues singer Bessie Smith, Latifah said:
I think she was probably more open then than people are now. It was a different era, but people weren’t as politically correct as they are now.”
However, the actress thinks that although people claim to be more open-minded, they are still as bigoted as they were fifty years – they have just learnt to “hide it” better.
They can be just as racist, sexist and classist [sic] now as then but they just won’t say it in the same way now. They’ll kind of hide it.”
Talking of why she took the part of Smith, she added
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.”
She also said that she wishes more fellow rappers would “say more” about serious subjects and “go against the grain to keep things interesting.”
It takes a little courage – people have to be brave enough to use their voices, not to be the status quo.”
She previously said of the film:
People’s ideas in general are antiquated when it comes to who you love. We haven’t moved as quickly as we probably should. The reality is that there’s always been gay people in the black community, so it’s not foreign to us. And not just as a black community but just a society as a whole.
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. Couples should be protected under the laws of this country period.
It actually angers me. It’s not unusual so let’s be adults and let’s move forward.”