(Video) The Surprising Way Jada Pinkett Smith & Queen Latifah First Met

Posted On : July 14, 2017

Jada Pinkett-Smith and Queen Latifah have great chemistry on screen. This is largely in part because the two ladies have been friends for quite awhile.

How Did Jada And Queen Latifah Meet?

Turns out Jada and Queen  go back like Cracker Jacks! In the upcoming summer comedy, Girls Trip, the two acting vets play close college girlfriends who reunite years later for an epic trip. The movie will be  in theaters on July 21st. The number 21 is also symbolic because it marks 21 years since the two shared the big screen in the 1996 movie Set It Off. However, what many people may not know is that Latifah and Jada were homegirls long before Hollywood.

In speaking with PEOPLE at the  Essence Fest in New Orleans, where their new movie takes place, Jada shared that she first saw her friend ‘La’ -her nickname for Queen Latifah- years ago, when Queen was performing in a club. Jada was so impressed with Latifah as an MC, that she just had to meet her.

“It was in Baltimore at a club where she was performing. I’d never seen anyone like her before, this female rapper named Queen Latifah. I convinced the promoter to let me introduce her.”

The ladies laughed at Jada’s memory revealing that they were not old enough to be in that club. Queen was so young that she had a chaperone there. Jada also admitted that she probably should have been home, instead of the club.

“My mother was with me,” recalls Latifah, 47. “That’s how young I was. I was 17.” Pinkett-Smith, 45, was even younger, and admits with a laugh, “I had no business being in that club!”

As y’all already know, Girl’s Trip isn’t their first movie together. Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith first starred together in the movie, Set It Off, where they played close friends and ill-fated bank robbers. A lot has changed since the Set It Off days as the ladies say their worlds are completely different now. Shortly after the film, Jada married the love of her life, Will Smith, and eventually had 2 children.

“Shoot, everything, literally,” adds Latifah, “We were babies, we were youngins. I didn’t even have my woman body yet. She got knocked up shortly after that.”

“I had two babies [Jaden, now 19, and Willow, now 16] and got married [to Will Smith],” says Pinkett-Smith. “My life went in a whole other direction. A lot of ups and downs. But yet here we are.”

True friends, the ladies have maintained their friendship and are extremely close. When the ladies both received the script for Girls Trip, also starring Regina Hall and hilarious newcomer, Tiffany Haddish, they both jumped at the chance to work together again. What’s better than working on a movie about friends with your real life friend? In addition to loving the opportunity to work together again, the ladies were impressed with the portrayal of African-American women. Their characters are college educated, successful, and hanging out in the N. O.

“I haven’t seen women of color portrayed like this in a long time,” says Pinkett Smith, “but it has universal themes. La and I were like, ‘We’re in!’”

After the movie Girl’s Trip, the longtime friends decided to take a real girl’s trip with each other and do what they do best which is simply in one another’s presence.

“We are super-overdue for that! She invites me to a lot of girls’ peace [get-togethers], like, ‘La, come to the spa, chill out, find your Zen.’ I’m ready to drag her out of the house,” Queen shared.

Says Pinkett-Smith, who has more free time these days, “I’m ready to be dragged out of the house!”

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