There’s a new movie poised to hit HBO, and the movie about blues singer Bessie Smith called Bessie stars none other than a modern day superstar who seemed made to take on the role of the so-called Empress of the Blues. That actress and singer is Dana Elaine Owens, who the world knows as Queen Latifah. A 45-year-old Renaissance woman in her own right, Latifah takes on the role of the popular blues singing Bessie — a woman who made a big splash in the genre, prior to her tragic death at age 43 in a car accident.
Published on the HBO YouTube channel on April 3, the trailer for the Bessie biography quickly received more than half-a-million video views in a short period of time. In the description, HBO gives more details about the exact date and time that viewers can expect to watch Queen Latifah portray the blues legend.
“HBO Films presents Bessie, focusing on legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, Saturday, May 16 at 8 P.M.”
The biopic will feature Queen Latifah tacking issues that Smith encountered in her difficult life, reports Variety – an existence that entailed Bessie being open about her experiences with bisexuality, infidelity in marriage, and more on her rise to the top of the charts in the 1920s. Dee Rees helmed the film as the director chronicling Smith’s turbulent being, and the trailer alone shows plenty of struggles that Bessie encountered while becoming a huge beacon for African-American singers that followed down the musical path that Smith blazed.
“The film, which also stars Michael Kenneth Williams and Mo’Nique, premieres on May 16.”
The trailer shows Bessie’s violent union with Jack Gee, played by Michael Kenneth Williams, a man known as Chalky White on Boardwalk Empire. After Smith met and fell in love with Gee, their marriage experienced problems despite all of the income that Bessie earned via her singing performances, because Gee found her bisexuality and career in the limelight problematic. Though infidelity marred their marriage on both sides, neither sought a divorce.
“The blues is not about people knowing you, it’s about you knowing the people.”
As reported by the Inquisitr, the Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning Latifah was commended for using her own money to pay her laid-off staff from her canceled talk show throughout the Christmas holidays.
Other stars of Bessie include Tika Sumpter, Khandi Alexander, Mo’Nique, Mike Epps, and Charles S. Dutton.
[Image via Bessie]