Queen Latifah is singing the blues — but in a good way. The rapper-turned-Oscar-nominated actress will star as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith in HBO’s upcoming biopic, Bessie, and we’ve got a first look at a new trailer and an exclusive poster for the film.
If you’ve never seen the Queen in a flapper dress, now’s your chance. In the trailer, the hip-hop pioneer has no trouble channeling “The Empress of the Blues,” who was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and ‘30s. The story follows Smith’s journey to become one of the top entertainers of her era, as well as her struggles as a bisexual woman in a complicated marriage. The trailer gives us a peek at everything from Smith’s glamorous rise to fame to a violent, vase-throwing fight with her husband, Jack Gee (Michael Kenneth Williams).
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The poster, meanwhile, gives us a clue to how the film will portray Smith’s journey: “Survival began with a song.”
Bessie premieres Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. on HBO.