Queen Latifah has often been seen sporting a necklace with a key on it, because it’s the key to the motorcycle that her brother Lancelot Owens Jr. owned. And he was killed on that motorcycle while riding it in 1992.
The actor and rapper opened up about the tragedy during Thursday’s episode of Angie Martinez‘s Wetv show “Untold Stories of Hip Hop,” where famous rappers reveal never-before-heard accounts of things they’ve experienced.
Latifah said Owens Jr. was killed shortly after she purchased a house for them to live in with their mother, and his death shattered everything for her.
“I was supposed to be with him that day on the motorcycle, but one of my friends had to move, so we were moving all day,” she explained. “After my brother passed away, that ruined my world. It rocked me to my core. I’ve never been the same since.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Latifah said people would show fake concern after the tragedy. Plus, she noticed that her career was taking off around that time, but she wasn’t able to fully enjoy it.
“People would say, ‘I heard about your brother, Queen. Can I get an autograph?'” she remembered people saying. “And I’m like, ‘How can you feel sorry but yet you want something from me?’ After my brother passed away, it was so bittersweet. It seems like everything came successful.”
“‘Living Single’ became the No. 1 show among Black and Latino households. Everything was doing great outside of me. People had no idea I was, like, done,” she added.
The “Wrath of My Madness” rapper then said she began using substances to help with depression, and it was something that eventually got out of hand.
“I had a problem,” she explained. “I would drink every day. I would smoke every day, and I needed to stop getting wasted.”
Later on, the New Jersey native said she began to grieve through music, which she called “her safe place,” and that’s when she started working on her 1993 LP “Black Reign.” Latifah also created the song “Winki’s Theme” for the album since Winki was her brother’s nickname.
“This jam is dedicated to my brother Winki who’s looking down on me from heaven,” she says at the beginning of the song. “Watching my every move as usual.”