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queen latifah-ladies first

This clip is a music video of Queen Latifah’s 1989 “Ladies First,” from her first albumAll Hail the Queen.Latifah raps, “Some think that we can’t flow / Stereotypes, they got to go / Imma mess around and flip the scene into reverse / With a little touch of ‘Ladies First’ / Who said the ladies couldn’t make it, you must be blind / If you don’t believe, well here, listen to this rhyme / Ladies first, there’s no time to rehearse / I’m divine and my mind expands throughout the universe.” The video begins with images of black female historical figures, and features Latifah and other women singing and dancing together. The imagery is complicated by scenes of violence and chaos from the South African struggle to end apartheid, which is reflective of the historical context in which the video was created. The video can be interpreted as an argument for intersectionality – the notion that issues of gender and racial injustice need to be considered together to work toward equality for all.


This song has been described as a “feminist anthem.” Do you agree with this characterization? Why or why not? What elements of the song and video can be interpreted as feminist?

How would you describe Queen Latifah? What is it about Latifah’s persona that makes her well-suited to deliver this message?

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