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Trailer Watch: Queen Latifah Lives the Blues in Dee Rees’ ‘Bessie’ on HBO

Trailer Watch: Queen Latifah Lives the Blues in Dee Rees' 'Bessie' on HBO

“Ain’t nobody doing it like I do,” declares Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith, the legendary singer who was the highest-paid black entertainer during the Roaring Twenties. 

Bessie is probably talking about her ability to embody the blues on stage, but her proclamation describes just as well her turbulent life, which, according to “Pariah” writer-director Dee Rees’ retelling of it, included lesbian affairs, artistic ambitions, great wealth and greater admiration, and, of course, the racial, gendered, and sexual prejudices of the era. 

An adaptation of Chris Albertson’s biography “Bessie,” the HBO biopic will focus on Smith’s difficult personal life and her rise to stardom , both of which were short by Smith’s premature death at age 43 in a car accident.

Co-starring Mo’Nique, Tika Sumpter and Khandi Alexander, “Bessie” will debut on Saturday, May 16. 

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