Starring in the new CBS drama series The Equalizer, Academy Award nominee and legendary multi-hyphenate, Queen Latifah, takes on the role of Robyn McCall in the reimagined classic action series.
Playing McCall, Latifah portrays an enigmatic woman who is a single mother of a 15-year-old daughter Deliah (Laya DeLeon Hayes). What her daughter doesn’t know is that McCall has a secret life as “The Equalizer” as she turns into an anonymous guardian angel and defender of the defenseless in pursuit of her own personal redemption.
With the premiere episode airing on Sunday (Feb. 7) following Super Bowl LV, Latifah tells BET.com in an interview that although the original character was written for a white man, playing McCall today as a dynamic Black woman feels completely natural.
“I think that Black women have been equalizing for years and years,” says Latifah who is also known for her critically-acclaimed roles in Bessie and Chicago. “From Stacey Abrams to Kamala Harris to my mother to my grandmother, seeing a Black woman equalize is not a new thing to me.”
Latifah says that witnessing the power dynamics of Black women on network TV each week may be unfamiliar territory for some viewers because this type of storyline is not frequently shown to the masses.
“We need to see more of it. We’ve been doing what we have to do. We’ve been carrying a lot of things on our backs,” she continues. “Unfortunately, sometimes we’re not lifted up in the way we should be when it comes to how much we actually carry, how much grit we have, how much determination we have, how powerful we are, and how magical we are. These things come naturally.”
Normalizing such narratives is important to Latifah, who is looking forward to seeing not just one but three generations of Black women’s stories told within the show, which also stars Lorraine Toussaint who plays Aunt Vi.
“I think the world needs to see what it’s like, what life is like for us,” Latifah says.
Here’s a special sneak peek of The Equalizer posted by Queen Latifah herself on Twitter on Friday (Feb. 5).
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/CBS)