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Queen Latifah: 'Put On Your Crown,' Make A Change

Queen Latifah has won multiple acting and singing awards, including a Grammy for the song "U.N.I.T.Y." from her 1993 album, <em>Black Reign.</em>
Queen Latifah has won multiple acting and singing awards, including a Grammy for the song "U.N.I.T.Y." from her 1993 album, <em>Black Reign.</em>

When singer, rapper and actress Queen Latifah realized how many young women are stuck in violent relationships, putting themselves down and dealing with other personal challenges, she decided to reach out.

With her new book, Put On Your Crown, she tells NPR's Neal Conan that she hopes to encourage young women by admitting her own mistakes, and sharing the lessons she's learned.

Latifah says she doesn't worry too much about opening up to the public about the abuse in her family or the loss of her brother.

"I'm only going to give you what I want to give you of my life," she says. "When it comes to really trying to help someone better themselves or make better decisions, for me, that's the best way to do it."

According to Latifah, sharing both the good and the bad of her life experience helps readers relate to her. She says it allows them to see that the important thing is what you do with the challenges life hands you.

"It's how you respond to them that's going to make you who you are," she says.

Among the many experiences Latifah candidly shares in her book is that of going broke.

"Believe me," she says, "I've heard these stories from people who are much more successful than I am. It wasn't something that was unheard of, and I think, especially with our times, people go through these things."

Latifah says the lesson she learned from going broke -- apart from how to restructure and manage her business -- was that losing everything happens to people on all economic levels.

"You just have to figure out how to bounce back from those situations and learn from them," she says.

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