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Queen Latifah

Boston Pops

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Film and music legend Queen Latifah comes to Symphony Hall! With a Grammy award and six nominations for albums in jazz, pop and rap, an Oscar nomination for her role in Chicago, and dozens of other film and television roles, this Renaissance woman defies genres with her compelling voice and presence. Join us for these rare symphonic performances.

Featured Performers

Keith Lockhart, conductor
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Having celebrated his twentieth anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor in 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since its founding in 1885. He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's thirteen-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the legendary Arthur Fiedler, who as at the helm of the orchestra for nearly fifty years. During his tenure, Keith Lockhart has significantly expanded Pops programming, focused on national annual touring, and participated in major media events. He has solidified the orchestra's place in the fabric of the New England community and has led the Boston Pops in countless performance situations. The list of more than 250 guest artists with whom he has collaborated is a virtual "who's who" of performers and pop culture icons.

Keith Lockhart, who occupies the Julian and Eunice Cohen Boston Pops Conductor chair, has conducted more than 1,900 Boston Pops concerts, most of which have taken place during the orchestra's spring and holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall. Mr. Lockhart has also led annual Boston Pops appearances at Tanglewood, 43 national tours to more than 150 cities in 38 states, and four international tours to Japan and Korea. He and the Pops have made 79 television shows and participated in such high-profile sporting events as Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA finals, the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony, and the Red Sox Opening Day game at Fenway Park in 2009. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular draws a live audience of over half a million to the Charles River Esplanade and millions more who view it on television or live webcast. Last year, with Eaton Vance as presenting sponsor and Bloomberg exclusive media partner, the Pops organization presented its first self-produced Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, which was broadcast on Bloomberg Television and all its media outlets. Both companies made initial three-year commitments to the event in 2017.

Mr. Lockhart has led eight albums on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label, including two-The Celtic Album and The Latin Album-that earned Grammy nominations. Recent releases on Boston Pops Recordings include The Red Sox Album, A Boston Pops Christmas-Live from Symphony Hall, and The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers, which was a Boston Pops commission premiered in 2010 during the orchestra's 125th season. Released at the beginning of the 2017 Pops season, Lights, Camera…Music! Six Decades of John Williams features Keith Lockhart leading the Boston Pops in a collection of Williams compositions from the 1960s onward, some of which can be considered rarities.

Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on musical theater, attracting such leading Broadway artists as Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, Bernadette Peters, and Billy Porter to the Pops stage. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians, including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and area high school students. He introduced the PopSearch talent competition and the innovative JazzFest and EdgeFest series, featuring prominent jazz and indie artists performing with the Pops. He is dedicated to building and updating the Boston Pops library of music, which contains over five thousand arrangements.

With a renewed commitment to bring the Boston Pops into the Boston community and to important civic events, Keith Lockhart and the Pops have appeared at gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the annual tree lighting in Boston's Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics games; and the memorial service for the Boston Marathon bombing victims. He has led free concerts in such major public spaces as Boston Common and Franklin Park, and each holiday season brings members of the Pops to play for patients at Children's Hospital.

Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly from the stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops experience apart from a traditional orchestra concert-an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of all ages.

Having just completed an eight-year tenure as principal conductor, Keith Lockhart is now chief guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London, which he led in the June 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II; he is also artistic director of the Brevard Music Center summer institute and festival in North Carolina. Prior to his BBC appointment, he spent eleven years as music director of the Utah Symphony, which he led at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. He has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major symphonic ensemble in North America, as well as many prestigious orchestras in Asia and Europe. Prior to coming to Boston, he was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Keith Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.

Keith Lockhart, conductor Queen Latifah, special guest
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Queen Latifah: musician; television and film actress; a label president; an author and entrepreneur. Blessed with style and substance, Queen Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. Heralded by the press and the industry as a force to be reckoned with, Latifah has quite simply done it all and shows no sign of slowing down.

Latifah has had amazing success in Hollywood in recent years, and became the first hip hop artist to be crowned with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 4, 2006. She received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award nomination for her portrayal as Mama Morton in Miramax's Chicago.  Following Chicago, Latifah starred in Disney's box office hit Bringing Down the House, on which she also acted as executive producer.

In the TV movie, Life Support, Latifah was both the star and executive producer, in the true-life drama, in which she plays a mother who overcomes an addiction to crack and becomes a positive role model and an AIDS activist in the black community. Latifah received rave reviews as well as an Emmy nomination, a Golden Globe win and a SAG Award win. She starred in Neil Meron and Craig Zadan's Hairspray playing Motormouth Maybelle and was also seen in the film Mad Money playing opposite Diane Keaton and Katie Holmes.

In Fox Searchlight's The Secret Life of Bees, Latifah starred alongside Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fannning. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Secret Life of Bees won the Hollywood Film Award at the Hollywood Film Festival and a People's Choice Award for Favorite Independent Movie in 2009.  Queen Latifah starred in the romantic comedy Just Wright, on which she produced as well.  She also starred alongside Vince Vaughn and Kevin James in The Dilemma directed by Ron Howard. In 2012, she starred in Warner Brothers Joyful Noise alongside Dolly Parton which she produced as well.  Later that same year, Latifah starred in Lifetime's adaptation of Steel Magnolias of which she is also an executive producer.  She plays M'Lynn starring alongside Alfre Woodward, Phylicia Rashad, and Jill Scott.

Latifah was seen in Wayne Wang's The Last Holiday, and starred in MGM's Beauty Shop (a spin-off of the hit Barbershop), which she also produced.  She also appeared in Marc Forster's Stranger Than Fiction, playing opposite Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman and was the voice of the Wooly Mammoth, Ellie, in Ice Age 2.  In July 2012, she reprised her role as the voice of Ellie in Ice Age: Continental Drift.

To most people releasing multiple movies would be enough, but Queen Latifah wasn't satisfied.  On September 25th, 2007 Latifah released her album titled Trav'lin Light in which she was nominated for a Grammy. Co-produced by three time Grammy winner, Tommy LiPuma, this album was the long awaited follow up to Latifah's highly received and Grammy nominated The Dana Owens Album. The platinum-selling album was a collection of timeless classics chosen and covered by the Queen herself.  As Latifah demonstrated both in Living Out Loud (1998) and her Oscar-nominated performance in Chicago (2002), her vocal talent is as impressive as her acting. In August 2009 her latest album titled Persona was released. Executive produced by Cool and Dre, Persona brings together the two worlds of Hip Hop and Pop creating a new sound for the Queen.

Queen Latifah is also one of music's most well respected rappers. From her ground breaking 1989 debut All Hail the Queen, which set the visual and contextual standard for female rappers, to her bold foray into R&B, Latifah continues to define what a woman in the music industry should be.  She has earned six Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994. In 2004, she was nominated for Best Female Rap Solo Performance for Go Head.  In 2005, she was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Dana Owens Album and in 2008 she was nominated for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for Trav'lin Light.

And then there's Flavor Unit Entertainment, a production company owned and operated by Queen Latifah and her partner, Shakim Compere.   Flavor Unit Entertainment, which started in New Jersey and is now based in Miami, is quickly establishing itself as one of the most important production companies in the film industry. They began by executive producing Disney's box office # 1 hit Bringing Down the House and then continued with Beauty Shop for MGM and The Perfect Holiday for Paramount. They have also produced The Cookout with Lion's Gate, as well as the film Just Wright with Fox Searchlight. On the small screen, they executive produced HBO's critically acclaimed film Life Support which garnered a number of awards including an Emmy nomination and Golden Globe win for Queen Latifah . Flavor Unit Entertainment made a multi-year deal with BET to create new original programming including the original movie The Cookout 2 and its first-ever scripted romantic comedy titled Let's Stay Together which premiered with 4.4 million viewers. In 2011, Flavor Unit Entertainment's original film Single Ladies, was expanded into VH1's first hour-long scripted series with approximately 3 million viewers throughout its two season run.  Flavor Unit produced Latifah's film Joyful Noise and Lifetime's Original Movie, Steel Magnolias which stars Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott and Alfre Woodard. The movie premiered in October 2012 as the third most-watched telecast ever on the network, averaging 6.5 million total viewers.  Flavor Unit most recently struck a multi-year licensing deal with Netflix.  Their first release includes the thriller, House of Bodies which starsTerrence Howard and Peter Fonda.  

Her first television series, Living Single, was a huge success and is currently in syndication. From the small screen, Latifah made a leap to film and her acting skills have earned her the status of leading lady.

Since her screen debut in Spike Lee's 1991 film Jungle Fever, her film career has taken off. She starred in Set it Off, which earned her a nomination for a Spirit Award in the Best Actress category and co-starred with Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito in the critically acclaimed Living Out Loud. In 1999, she was seen in Universal's The Bone Collector directed by Philip Noyce starring Denzel Washington. This past May, Queen Latifah made her way back to the cinematic small screen earning an Emmy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, and a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her role in Bessie, an HBO biopic recounting the life of singer Bessie Smith, who was also known as "The Empress of the Blues."

In addition to music, film and television, Queen Latifah has also written a book on self-esteem entitled Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman. Queen Latifah's second book, Put on Your Crown: Life Lessons from the Queen, was released in May 2010.

In September 2013, Queen Latifah became the host of her very own talk show which she produced with partner Shakim Compere, and Overbrook Entertainment's Will Smith, Jada Smith and James Lassiter. In September 2014, The Queen Latifah Show premiered for its second and final season.

Most recently, Queen Latifah starred in Miracles from Heaven opposite Jennifer Garner in Sony's faith-based drama, and she is currently filming Lee Daniels' FOX series STAR. Queen Latifah also recently took to the stage and small screen performing as the title character in NBC's The Wiz Live! alongside Uzo Adubo, Mary J. Blige, Ne-Yo, Common and David Alan Grier. Queen Latifah can next be seen in Ice Age: Collision Course which will hit theatres in Julyas she returns to be the voice of the Wooly Mammoth, Ellie.

Flavor Unit recently produced The Real MVP: The Wanda Pratt Story, a Lifetime Original Movie set to premiere in May; The Best Place to Be, which will follow A-List celebrities as they take viewers on an all-access trip to their favorite cities around the world; and Curvy Style with Timothy Snell, a docuseries that follows one of Hollywood's hottest celebrity stylists, Timothy Snell, as he works with celebrity clients and everyday women. Flavor Unit also recently produced The Perfect Match starring Terrence Jenkins and Paula Patton.

Most recently, Flavor Unit partnered with BlacJac Entertainment to produce and bring back VH1's Hip Hop Honors, which premiered live on July 11th. In a first for this tent-pole, Hip Hop Honors honored women of hip hop and paid homage to the female pioneers. Flavor Unit also just partnered with Jesse Collins Entertainment to produce VH1's one-hour special event Dear Mama which premiered on Mother's Day, shining the spotlight on mothers.  VH1 recently renewed Dear Mama as an annual special.

 

Queen Latifah is diligent in her pursuit of excellence, as is evident by the awards she has received for her work in film and music. Her sincere concern for others is revealed by the generous amount of time and money that she donates to worthwhile charitable organizations. Every year, Queen Latifah serves as co-chairman for the Lancelot H. Owens Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Established by her mother, Rita Owens, to perpetuate the memory of a loving son and brother, the foundations provides scholarships to students who excel scholastically, but are limited in financial resources.

Queen Latifah, special guest
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