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

“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.

Related: Queen Latifah out and about:

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Queen Latifah out and about
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Queen Latifah out and about
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 23: Queen Latifah performs in a LipSync Battle as part of the naming celebration for the Carnival cruise ship Horizon at Pier 88 on May 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 23: Queen Latifah attends Carnival Horizon naming ceremony event at Pier 88 on May 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Manny Carabel/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Actor Queen Latifah speaks at the 2018 A+E Upfront on March 15, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for A+E)
STAR: Queen Latifah in the '30 Days To Famous' season finale episode of STAR airing Wednesday, May 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18: Queen Latifah looks on during the NBA All-Star Game 2018 on February 18, 2018 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Tom O'Connor/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 07: Queen Latifah attends the 2018 amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street on February 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 7: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Queen Latifah speaks onstage during the 2018 amfAR Gala New York at Cipriani Wall Street on February 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Tachman/amfAR2017/Getty Images)
STAR: Queen Latifah in the 'Let the Good Times Roll' episode of STAR airing Wednesday, May 2 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0781 -- Pictured: Queen Latifah during an interview on December 1, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Actress/singer Queen Latifah attends Alvin Ailey's 2017 opening night Gala at New York City Center on November 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
STAR: Queen Latifah in the 'A House Divided' episode of STAR airing Wednesday, Dec. 6 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 14: Queen Latifah arrives at REVOLT Music Conference - Gala Dinner & Award Presentation at Eden Roc Hotel on October 14, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for Revolt Music Conference)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 16: Event honoree Queen Latifah attends VH1 Save The Music Foundation #TurnItUpTo20 gala at SIR Stage37 on October 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 14: (L-R) Diddy and Queen Latifah at The 2017 REVOLT Music Conference - Gala Dinner & Award Presentation at Eden Roc Hotel on October 14, 2017 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: Actress Queen Latifah visits the SiriusXM Studios with American Heart Association to talk about heart failure on September 28, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Queen Latifah attends 'Empire' & 'Star' Celebrate FOX's New Wednesday Night - Red Carpet at One World Observatory on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Queen Latifah attends 'Empire' and 'Star' celebrate FOX's new Wednesday night at One World Observatory on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 25: Actress Queen Latifah at 2017 BronzeLens Film Festival Women SuperStars Luncheon at Westin Peachtree Plaza on August 25, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
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“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.

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