By  on September 16, 2005

NEW YORK — The Queen has spoken — and she wants quality, affordable cosmetics for women of all colors.

Queen Latifah held court at BB King's on Manhattan's 42nd Street Tuesday evening to announce the Cover Girl Queen Collection, a color cosmetics line targeted to women of color.

Latifah has been a spokeswoman for Cover Girl since 2001 and in that time she's heard women of all ethnic backgrounds beg for more beauty choices. "When I first started in the business, there was one color to pick from [for African-American women] and that sometimes turned you green and ashy," recalled Latifah, who is known not only as a rapper, but as an actress, producer and pitchwoman for various products. "I'm out with the people and they want what's on the cutting edge, but what's affordable and accessible."

Joking that she wanted to get on the endorsement bandwagon like many celebrities, Latifah turned serious about her relationship with Procter & Gamble's Cover Girl. "You don't need me to promote the newest electronic product. It was a no-brainer to partner with Cover Girl," added Latifah, who serves as a spokeswoman for Pizza Hut and Curvation intimate apparel. She said her relationship with Cover Girl is a "long-term deal that will expand."

Marc Pritchard, president, global retail hair color, cosmetics and personal care for P&G, pointed out that Cover Girl was the first beauty company to feature an African-American model, Lana Ogilvie, and that the company has worked in tandem with many notable black women over the years, including Brandy. P&G also has the license for Iman cosmetics fronted by the famed black model.

The Queen Collection includes foundation, lip color, lip gloss, lip pencil, eye shadow quads, mascara, eyeliner and nail color. Prices range from $3.49 to $6.49 — in line with general market Cover Girl products. Although there is a current rush to add celebrity fragrances, Cover Girl does not plan a Queen scent at this time, although a company spokeswoman didn't rule it out for the future.

The Cover Girl Queen Collection will launch in 18 cities in January 2006: Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Houston, Dallas, Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Memphis, San Francisco, Cleveland, St. Louis, Sacramento, Calif., Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The line will also be available for purchase on the Cover Girl Web site this fall. Latifah said she hopes to make store appearances to support the line. Industry sources said the Queen collection could easily hit sales exceeding $10 million within the first two years.

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