VIDEO: Queen Latifah Talks Singing the Blues in HBO's BESSIE
The HBO film BESSIE debuts SATURDAY, MAY 16 at 8:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on HBO. This marks a return to the network for Oscar® nominee Queen Latifah following her Golden Globe- and SAG Award-winning performance in HBO Films' "Life Support."
She stars as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in the drama, directed by Dee Rees from a screenplay by Dee Rees and Christopher Cleveland & Bettina Gilois, with a story by Dee Rees and Horton Foote. The film focuses on Smith's transformation from a struggling young singer into "The Empress of the Blues," one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and an enduring icon today.
BESSIE is executive produced by Richard D. Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel. Ron Schmidt produces. The film also stars Michael Kenneth Williams as Bessie's husband, Jack Gee; Khandi Alexander as Bessie's older sister, Viola; Mike Epps as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tory Kittles as Bessie's older brother, Clarence; Tika Sumpter as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Oliver Platt as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten; Bryan Greenberg as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond; with Charles S. Dutton as Ma Rainey's husband, William "Pa" Rainey; and Oscar® winner Mo'Nique as blues legend Ma Rainey.