Queen Latifah, Full of Faith in 'Joyful Noise': Acting, Hip-Hop and Motherhood

Actress talks about her latest film, "Joyful Noise."

ByABC News
January 4, 2012, 8:20 PM

Jan. 5, 2012— -- You've gotta have faith in Queen Latifah.

Recently at Bowlmor Lanes bowling alley in New York City, the acclaimed actress, singer and business mogul met up with ABC's Lara Spencer and talked about her new film, juggling her career and what inspires her.

She also showed off her bowling skills.

"Ya know bowling is just fun for me," Latifah said. "You try to get it perfect. You get to try and hit the strike."

Bowling could be seen as a metaphor for Latifah's thriving career. Strike after strike, Latifah has catapulted her career to the red carpet.

PHOTOS: Queen Latifah Through the Years

Her latest movie venture "Joyful Noise" is no exception. The musical comedy written and directed by Todd Graff focuses on a church choir in a small town struggling through tough times. Latifah not only stars in the film, but is also its executive producer.

"Often times with films, everybody is such, you know, you're trying to appeal to so many people that you edit words like 'God,'" Latifah said. "I'm a Christian. I'm not -- I'm a sinner like everybody else, but it was just refreshing, you know, to have an opportunity to, you know, bring a film like this to the screen."

Latifah plays Vi Rose Hill, a "no nonsense" single mother of two teenagers, who goes head-to-head with G.G. Sparrow, a widowed church executive played by Dolly Parton. The two clash when Hill, the newly appointed director of Divinity Church's gospel choir, wants them to stick to their usual song lineup for the National Joyful Noise Competition, but Sparrow demands new, more pop material.

"Ultimately, it's such an inspirational movie," Latifah said. "The music is so good and it's just one of those films that people need in these tough times, to spend their money on and walk out of that theater feeling uplifted."

Latifah identified with her character and its storyline on many levels. Born Dana Owens, the actress was raised by a single mother in East Orange, N.J., where church, faith and family were a huge part of her upbringing.

"I did grow up in a church and my aunt has been a choir director since I was a little kid, and my mother directs the choir in her church," Latifah said. "I definitely knew I had to bring it."

Although she has no children of her own, the 41-year-old actress said motherhood is not out of the question for her.

"It could happen. I'm just going have to go for it. I don't know, it's going have to happen somehow," she said. "However God sees it happening for me, that's how it'll happen."

Latifah has worn many hats throughout her successful career. She began in the hip-hop scene when she started beatboxing with the musical group Ladies Fresh in 1988, and released her first rap album, "All Hail the Queen," in 1989. From there she shifted to singing soul and jazz, performing concerts with a live orchestra in the mid-2000s.

Throughout the '90s, Latifah also starred in several films, including "Jungle Fever," "Juice" and "The Bone Collector." She had a reoccurring role on the widely popular TV series, "Fresh Prince of Bel Air," and starred in a lead role on hit TV series "Living Single."

"I think coming from a musical background, from a rapper or a singer, it's helped me in my acting career, you know, with timing, with rhythm and you know, even 'Living Single' like-- that timing that you have to have on a sitcom, it was kinda natural to me," she said.