Harvard University will recognize Queen Latifah, this year, for her contributions to black history and culture by bestowing her with the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. The award is named after the first black student to earn a doctorate from Harvard in 1895, who later became a renowned writer, scholar, editor and civil rights activist. Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research declares the award "Harvard's highest honour in the field of African and African American studies."

Recipients of the W.E.B. du Bois Medal have included individuals of various disciplines, such as artists, writers, journalists, philanthropists and public servants. This year, the award will be given to Queen Latifah and six others on October 22. The other honourees include poet and educator Elizabeth Alexander, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Lonnie Bunch III, poet Rita Dove, co-founder of Black Entertainment Television Sheila Johnson, artist Kerry James Marshall and Robert Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive of Vista Equity Partners.

Last year, Dave Chapelle and Colin Kaepernick were recipients of the medal. Other members of the hip hop community who have been added to the list of recipients include Nas and LL Cool J. Harvard also founded the Nasir Jones Hip Hop Fellowship to "further the development of Hiphop scholars and artists and to support research or creative projects in any of the arts."