30 Days of Iconic Music Video Blackness With VSB, Day 17: Queen Latifah, 'Ladies First'

Illustration for article titled 30 Days of Iconic Music Video Blackness With VSB, Day 17: Queen Latifah, 'Ladies First'
Screenshot: Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love “Ladies First”

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.


Queen Latifah featuring Monie Love “Ladies First” (1989)

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.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



Coming out the gate with “All Hail the Queen” at age 19 (!), Latifah’s been the queen since day one. Talking about this video specifically, she commanded your attention- she’s a powerful presence onscreen- and it was cool to see the feminist perspective front and center. She and Monie Love (who I think was maybe even younger?) play off each other so well too with their different styles.

And how does Latifah still look the same???  haha she should have another beauty deal like she did with Revlon or whatever a few years back