Queen Latifah Defends New Jersey Reality Shows

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July 10, 2010 | 10:00am EST

Queen Latifah is proud of the controversial reality shows filmed in her native New Jersey, branding the programmes’ stars kind and “neighbourly”.

The rapper’s beloved Garden State has hit the headlines in recent months for producing series including The Real Housewives of New Jersey and MTV’s Jersey Shore, which has featured violence and heavy drinking.

But Latifah – real name Dana Owens – has defended the shows, insisting she doesn’t blame viewers for being fascinated by her fellow New Jersey natives.

She tells Larry King, “Jersey has always been imaged in a weird way. You know? Associated with mobsters and stuff like that. (But) New Jersey is a great place to live. And we have given some of the best talent to the world, from Jack Nicholson, John Travolta to Jerry Lewis to Bon Jovi to Frank Sinatra.

“It’s just a reality show. Aren’t all reality shows reality shows? People are starting to find out that we got a cozy little spot there… People like watching other people’s lives. That’s just what it is. This was predicted to happen a long time ago, and now it’s here, and people just really are fascinated by watching other people’s lives. Shows like The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Jersey Shore, they’re just very entertaining.”

And the star admits she was bowled over by one of the reality show star’s kindness: “I did Jay Leno with (Jersey Shore star) Mike the Situation, and he lives like ten minutes from me in Jersey. He’s like, ‘If you ever get a flat, call me. I’ll come fix your tire.’ That’s how we do. That’s neighbourly, you know?”