Queen Latifah has conquered the arenas of music, management and acting, and she now returns to her hometown of Newark, New Jersey in an effort to give back. On Monday (April 25), Latifah (born Dana Owens) broke ground on a housing development intended to elevate and revitalize the city. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka joined the groundbreaking ceremony.
“An African American woman making this happen is an incredible thing," Baraka stated.
Queen Latifah spoke about her intentions with the development. “What’s always been important is that I could build something in this city that I could live in; that Queen Latifah could live in—not just Dana," she explained. “If you know Dana, then you know Dana can live anywhere. Dana can roll."
The development is called Rise Living, and is a collaboration between Life Assets Development and The Blue Sugar Corporation which was co-founded by Queen Latifah. Construction at the property located at 650 Springfield Avenue officially started earlier this year and was delayed due to Covid 19. Latifah hopes to bring beauty to the once neglected block, while inspiring others to do the same.
"Newark is ours," she said. "It's yours and I don't want people to think that they can't live in their own communities." A multibillion dollar revitalization plan is underway across Newark, and the Rise development is a part of that wave. 76 housing units and 1900 feet of ground-floor space for nonprofit organizations are also part of the Rise development. Over one dozen affordable housing units will also be included as part of the project.