Queen Latifah Says There Is 'No Other Feeling in the World' Like Performing at the Super Bowl
"You feel like you're an American and you feel like you're doing it in front of the world," said the star of CBS' new drama series The Equalizer, who performed at Super Bowl XXXII
Queen Latifah is the bomb.
On Sunday, just hours after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs (31 to 9) in the NFL championship, the Grammy-winner, 50, appeared on A Late Show: Super Bowl Special with host Stephen Colbert.
While guesting on the show, Latifah (née Dana Owens) opened up about the joyous and amazing feelings she experienced when she performed during the 1998 Super Bowl Halftime Show alongside fellow stars Boyz II Men, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson and Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. And for a special touch just one week ahead of Black History Month that year, Grambling State University's Tiger Marching Band also joined in on the explosive performance. (GSU is an HBCU a.k.a. historically Black colleges and universities.)
"It is like no other feeling in the world," Latifah, who said she's had some "ups and downs" amid the pandemic "like everybody else," described to Colbert, 56.
"I think most hip-hop artists would liken it to playing Madison Square Garden [in New York]. But other than that, there's nothing that can compare to it."
This year's live Super Bowl audience was limited, marking an incredibly stark difference in years past. Still, Latifah reflected on the strong vibes the in-person audience usually brings to the annual event.
"There's just this energy that is palpable," the Emmy winner details. "There are usually thousands and thousands of people everywhere. You can see the team out there and they look nervous. They look excited. They look like they wanna go to the bathroom one more time before the game starts and they can't, you know what I mean?"
"Some of them look like they can't wait, they're just like itching [and] they can't stand still," and according to the Living Single star — the feeling is mutual.
When Colbert asked how she felt to perform during the Super Bowl in '98, Latifah joked, "I can't stand still, I feel like I want to go to the bathroom one more time."
But she went on, smiling from ear to ear: "You feel this sort of reverence in a way because you not only want to rock this song, or whatever performance you're gonna do, but you feel like you're an American and you feel like you're doing it in front of the world."
RELATED VIDEO: See The Equalizer Official Trailer Starring Queen Latifah
"You want to do the best you can do and you know that these two teams have competed and gone through so much to get to this point," Owens added. "This is a championship game, a world championship game, and you are playing on a world championship stage so it's like millions and millions of people are staring at you. You've gotta get in the game yourself. You've gotta step up and show up."
As for what The Star actress loves the most about being on the Halftime stage, "My favorite part is always the flyover. When you sing your song and everybody's standing there and then all of a sudden these planes fly over and you can feel the rattle. You only see this stuff on TV, you never actually get to see the planes we're actually playing for."
Latifah's all-new CBS drama titled The Equalizer is all the buzz after it premiered during one of the biggest prime time slots in television — immediately after the Super Bowl. In it, the "Just Another Day" hitmaker plays a former CIA operative who's "been burned and [her] team has been killed. They no longer want to work for the CIA. She is tired of doing these missions that somebody just writes away someone's life with the stroke of the pen, so she decides to help every man, the everyday person."
The new series is a remake of the original '80s television show, which starred the late Edward Woodward; and its 2014 film adaptation which starred Denzel Washington.
"This is a different Equalizer," she told Colbert. "What he gets to do in the movies is way different than what I get to do on network television every week. He definitely set the bar for me, so thanks a lot bro, I really appreciate that." The late show host and Latifah also gave special shoutouts to Washington's son John David Washington, who is following in his footsteps as an actor.
The Equalizer airs Sunday nights at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.