Queen Latifah said this week that the decision to play a lesbian bank robber in the 1996 film Set It Off was hard.

The role of Cleopatra “Cleo” Sims in the film jumpstarted Latifah's movie career.

In an interview with InStyle, Tracee Ellis Ross asked Latifah whether there were any career decisions that were hard for her to make.

“When I got the role of amateur bank robber Cleo Sims in Set It Off, I sat down with my younger siblings and told them, ‘Listen, I’m playing a gay character. Your classmates might tease you or say negative things about it,’ ” Latifah told Ross. “But I’m doing it because I believe I can bring positive attention to the gay African-American community, and I believe that I can do a great job as an actor.’ They understood, and when those things inevitably happened in school, they were OK with it.”

Latifah, 46, has refused to discuss rumors about her own sexuality.

In 2008, she told The New York Times that she would not discuss her personal life in public, adding that she doesn't care if people think she's gay.

“Assume whatever you want,” Latifah said. “You do it anyway.”

Queen Latifah currently plays Carlotta Brown, the owner of an Atlanta beauty salon who does not fully support her transgender daughter, Cotton Brown, in Fox's Star.