As the record industry came of age, one name towered above all others: blues singer Bessie Smith. Mentored by Ma Rainey, she soon caught the attention of Columbia Records, and just as executives were realizing that there was huge black audience waiting to buy records, Bessie Smith was there to lead a new generation of influential artists. “Bessie” is her tale, and a new trailer has arrived.
Queen Latifah takes the lead role, with Mo’Nique, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tory Kittles, Tika Sumpter, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, and Charles S. Dutton in supporting roles in the Dee Rees (“Pariah“) directed movie about the life, hardship, loves, and music of Bessie Smith. And it certainly looks handsomely mounted, with Rees embracing her opportunity to work on a historical canvas.
“Bessie” hits HBO on May 16th. Watch below.