This year, Queen Latifah, the multi-talented Grammy and Emmy Award-winning entertainer, is the face and partner of Lenovo’s Evolve Small initiative. Designed to promote and support small businesses, the program provides financial assistance, technical resources and business guidance to select small businesses.
“Small businesses are able to move the needle forward [is what] About this; Who needs help right now than a small business? These are challenging times in our history – never seen before in my lifetime – but I have seen us thrive despite these challenges,” says Latifah. The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s really trying to see that business meaning That, you know? They really believe in what they are doing. What they are committed to [they’re] trying to do.”
The initiative, launched last summer and partnered by Microsoft and AMD, asks applicants to make short pitch videos promoting their businesses, which may be brand new or already established. Selected North American businesses will receive a $30,000 cash infusion, plus $10,000 worth of technology and one-on-one mentoring from Latifah (and the opportunity to include the actress, recording artist and producer in their marketing materials).
“They can ask anything. Whatever they need from me, I’ll be there,” says the Oscar-nominated star. “There are some really cool, creative people with businesses that nobody knows about, and my face helps bring attention. [them]Then I’d love to help your business go through the roof.
on CBS’ equalizer, Now in its third season and fourth, Latifah plays Robin McCall, a justice-oriented advocate for people in need. These values seem true to Latifah’s character in real life as well; This partnership with Lenovo — and her longtime work with another global brand, CoverGirl — is an example of how ambassadorship and support are a running thread for the actress on and off screen.
“I think these things are not mutually exclusive. And they have a thread in me, for sure,” Latifah says. “The idea of doing the show was, we need to see that the little guy wins sometimes, that good people still exist and that we can still come together in the midst of bad things.” There should be some optimism. Obviously, Lenovo is a giant, global technology company. They are famous all over the world and they manufacture PCs. And strangely enough, as I considered this deal, I liked what the concept was. But I went to my cleaners, and they were using Lenovo PCs. It was a bit of confirmation for me – they really are helping these small businesses.
equalizer, Kicking off its third run on Oct. 2 with the most-watched premiere of any network this season with 7.09 million viewers, it hit a rough patch in December of last year when Latifah’s co-star Chris Noth was fired from the series after days of sex. Assault claims against him first surfaced. Latifah admits that the show has had its challenges in the wake of that change, but said, “We’ve figured things out.”
“That’s how it is sometimes in our business, and all the best for everyone, but we have to keep this thing moving forward and on its path,” he says.
That trajectory this season is “more of a family affair this year … they’re more involved than ever,” says Latifah, “and the show is definitely going to be more action-packed this year. And because my grandma is sitting in front of the television watching this show and going, ‘I love that action.’ But some of the guys in my house say, ‘I love your relationship with your daughter.’ I think it’s great, there’s a little something for everyone. There’s a lot of heart, a lot of tension, and of course, a lot of action and maybe a little heat.
When Lenovo’s small business partners ran customized ads featuring Latifah, she was no stranger to the process. When her partnership with CoverGirl was first announced in 2001 and she appeared in commercials and magazine print ads for the makeup giant, it was an early example of a conversation about inclusion and representation that is ubiquitous today.
“Covergirl was a major, major business at the time … and the other thing was creating the Queen Collection line for women of color,” Latifah shared. For more than 15 years, the entertainer was the face of the brand’s numerous product launches, most notably its own Queen Collection line, which was specifically formulated to accommodate and produce a wide range of complexions, colors and shades. Now, 21 years later, Latifah has signed on to be part of the CoverGirl family again and says it will have a “new vibe … more modern and more techy. It’s still beautiful, still easy-breezy, but it’s for today.
“I look at all the other brands out there now, all the success and billion dollar businesses, and you know a little part of me in my heart, I’m a part of that,” says Latifah. “I know [Queen Collection] Part of it was because it sold – so they said, oh, here’s the business. And now everyone gets a chance to own the shades and their color at an affordable price.
Next, Latifah is creating more shows and film content through a deal with Universal Television and seeking five new directors for the Queen Collective, her film mentoring and development program for women of color, to create five short films for release through Tribeca. Film Festival and BET. She is working on an animated project at Netflix, 13 1⁄2 Lives of Captain Bluebearand was recently a producer on Netflix’s Thriller end of the road.