Queen Latifah’s video for her single, “Ladies First,” has stayed with me since the first time I saw it, probably sometime in late 1989 or early 1990. The imagery in the song was so striking to me that even as a 10- or 11-year-old, I remember being mesmerized. The video clips, the way Queen Latifah seemed like the biggest boss we’d seen thus far, the clothing, all of it. I don’t think I remember seeing any female rappers before this moment, either.
Then the messaging of “Ladies First” also hit my consciousness as “yeah, ladies first!” I remember this being one of my favorite songs and I had absolutely no idea why but if I had to render a guess as to what my 11-year-old brain was thinking it was just because Queen Latifah looked like somebody I needed to listen to. She looked the part and the video reinforced it. Even watching it now I still feel the same.
Real talk, I can’t decide if Queen Latifah has been 19 since 1989 or if she’s been 41 since 1989 because she looks the same age now as she was then. What I do know is that any video whose imagery has remained with me in such a significant fashion for 30 years is iconic. Also, whatever water Queen Latifah drinks is what we should all be drinking. Monie Love, too, for that matter.
And that, my friends is iconic.