Queen Latifah on racism: ‘We’re America. Let’s act like it.’

Produced by Yasmeen Qureshi

“Through Her Eyes” is a weekly half-hour show hosted by human rights activist Zainab Salbi that explores contemporary issues from a female perspective. You can watch the full episode of “Through Her Eyes” every Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku, or at the bottom of this article.

Queen Latifah has a straightforward message on racism: “We’re America. Let’s act like it.”

“I really feel like America will never be as great as it could be until we really deal with the truth of our racist attitudes,” Latifah explained while speaking with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes.”

“People need to be educated, because they need to understand that we have all contributed to the success of the United States of America. That it would not be what it is without Africans, people of African descent,” she continued.

While discussing her home state of New Jersey, Latifah weighed in on whether she is excited about the presidential bid of Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who would be the second African-American commander in chief.

“I think he has a vision for what America should be,” Latifah said. “I definitely support him running for president. He should. Why not?”

The interview broached a range of other topics close to Latifah, who helped break down barriers in the 1980s as one of hip-hop’s first female rappers. Now, as a successful actor, singer, rapper and producer, Latifah still sees areas where the music industry needs to improve — especially when it comes to transgressors of the #MeToo movement.

“I don’t think that every person who’s been involved in something like that is a bad person, necessarily,” Latifah observed. “I think that they were raised and taught certain things. … But that whole way of it being done has to be deconstructed, broken apart and reconstructed into something brand-new.”

But when asked why so many people in positions of power stayed silent amid decades of sexual abuse allegations against singer R. Kelly, Latifah had another blunt answer: “It’s called money.”

“People saw R. Kelly as a cash cow, and they didn’t want to give up the cash, so they ignored what was going on,” she said. “And he’s not the first, and he won’t be the last.”

Kelly was the subject of the docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which included interviews with dozens of people connected to the R&B singer, including women who claimed that Kelly had sexually assaulted or abused them. When the docuseries premiered in January, it sparked renewed interest in the mounting allegations against Kelly. On Feb. 22, Kelly was indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Less than two weeks later, in a heated interview with CBS’s Gayle King, Kelly continued to vehemently claim he is innocent.

“Whenever there’s money involved, and people are greedy and they want to make money, they learn to look the other way on a lot of things,” Latifah said.