A Conversation with Queen Latifah

Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada

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About This Episode

This week, Neil deGrasse Tyson has an intimate, one-on-one conversation with the multi-talented Queen Latifah, who it turns out is a proud science geek and Trekkie who loves science fiction, super heroes, Bruce Lee and martial arts. Queen Latifah shares stories from her youth, from parents who encouraged her and her brother to follow their curiosity, to learning martial arts from her S.W.A.T. officer father, to building things in the basement workshop in her grandfather’s house. They talk about her acting career, Sphere, the “no kill” clause in her contract, fighting for her Oscar-nominated role of Momma Morton in Chicago, and how her recurring role as Ellie in the Ice Age franchise has made her a hero to her nieces and nephews. Of course, the pair also talk about music, from Bessie Smith and “Oh Happy Day” to Neil’s “flat earth” beef with rapper B.O.B. You’ll hear how hip hop can be used for empowerment, and Neil even suggests to Queen Latifah how she might use it to inspire girls and women to pursue careers in the STEM fields. All this, plus climate change, virtual reality, and what it’s like to touch the 4.5 billion year old meteorite Neil has in his desk drawer.

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