Queen Latifah Says It Was ‘Difficult’ Filming Racial Scenes in ‘Bessie’

Queen Latifah in "Bessie." (Photo: Frank Masi/ HBO)

If I haven’t already said this, let me say it now: I am here for HBO’s new film “Bessie.”

Based on the snippets I’ve seen, “Bessie” seems like it’s going to be very good.

And watching Queen Latifah’s recent interview with CBS’s “Sunday Morning,” makes me want to see it even more.

Queen Latifah, an Oscar nominee and Grammy winner, will star in this musical biopic about Bessie Smith, the legendary early 20th century blues singer.

The film “focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling young singer into ‘The Empress of the Blues,’ who became one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s and is an enduring icon today,” according to an HBO press release. People may hate this reference, but Smith, a trailblazer, was like the Beyoncé of her time. She also had a very colorful yet lonely life.

"I hear pain, I hear love, I hear sadness, I hear…a lot of vision, I hear f- it - irreverence- excuse my language, but that's really what I hear. It's really devil-may-care," she said when asked about the emotions she hears in Smith's voice during her "Sunday Morning" interview.

Queen Latifah also talked about the difficulty of recreating the era’s segregation in the film.

"And even though it's a musical, and even though we're telling Bessie's story, this is not just a story, it really happened," she said, adding that she would think about her ancestors who lived during the earlier 20th century. "What was it like for them?"

I also like when Queen Latifah said that she likes the differences that people have such as skin color and hair texture. But, "differences being divisive and pushing us away from each other, and having one have to lord over the other, that's not cool," she added.

I dig that!

Dee Rees, known for her film “Pariah,” directs “Bessie,” which is based on a screen play she co-wrote. Michael K. Williams, Mo’Nique, Khandi Alexander, Tika Sumpter and Mike Epps are among those who star in the film alongside Queen Latifah. I’m excited about Mo’Nique as Ma Rainey for a number of reasons, but mainly because Ma’s life resembled Bessie’s in many ways, and from what I’ve seen, Mo’Nique did her legacy right (if she knocks it out the park, she could get an Emmy nod).

Check out the rest of the interview and the "Bessie" trailer below. It premieres on May 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

WATCH: Queen Latifah on “Sunday Morning”

WATCH: “Bessie” trailer

Enjoyed this? Be sure to check out previous “Can’t Stop Watching” posts. Have a comment for the Black Entertainment site, CelebrateBlackTV.com? Tweet @AishaIman with your question.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

, , , , ,