Dana Elaine Owens was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 18, 1970, and lived primarily in East Orange, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Rita Lamae (née Bray; d. 2018), a teacher at Irvington High School (Latifah's alma mater), and Lancelot Amos Owens, a police officer. Owens attended Essex Catholic Girls' High School in Irvington, but graduated from Irvington High School. Her parents divorced when Latifah was ten. Latifah was raised in the Baptist faith and attended Catholic school in Newark, New Jersey. She found her stage name, Latifah (لطيفة laţīfa), meaning "delicate" and "very kind" in Arabic, in a book of Arabic names when she was eight. Always tall, the 5-foot-10-inch (1. 78 m) Latifah was a power forward on her high school basketball team. She performed the number "Home" from the musical The Wiz in a grammar school play. After high school, Queen Latifah attended classes at Borough of Manhattan Community College.