One of hip hop's first major female stars, Queen Latifah's smooth, soulful house beats and social raps made her an inspiration to the likes of Missy Elliott, Nicki Minaj and Lauryn Hill. Nicknamed Latifah - meaning delicate and sensitive in Arabic - by her cousin, she started beat-boxing for rap group Ladies Fresh and joined DJ Mark The 45 King's New Jersey MC collective Flavor Unit, where she impressed MTV host Fab Five Freddy and was signed up by Tommy Boy Records. Debut All Hail The Queen (1989) became a classic, producing the feminist anthem Ladies First and the UK Number 14 single Mama Gave Birth To The Soul Children, marking Latifah out as a fearsome and intelligent new voice. She became the first female rapper to reach gold status for third album Black Reign (1993) and won a Grammy Award for the US Top 20 hit U.N.I.T.Y., before turning her hand to acting in the sit-com Living Single and becoming a big film star for roles in the hit movies Chicago, Taxi and The Secret Life Of Bees. She also became the first hip hop star to be honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, but returned to music for seventh studio album Persona (2009).