The actress and singer stars as blues icon Bessie Smith in an HBO biopic

By Lanford Beard
Updated May 08, 2015 03:20 PM
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Credit: HBO

Queen Latifah has the blues in a beautiful new exclusive poster for her upcoming film Bessie.

In the HBO biopic, the actress and musician stars as 1920s icon Bessie Smith, who transformed from a Tennessee preacher’s daughter to “The Empress of the Blues.”

Bessie also sheds light on Smith’s struggles during her rise to fame. Though the star recently said in Uptown Magazine of Smith’s sexuality, “It’s not like it’s a secret with her story. She was just free,” her orientation was merely one way Smith pushed boundaries after stepping into the national spotlight.

Four more exclusive posters also reveal the pivotal characters in Smith’s world, portrayed by Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Kenneth Williams, Scandal‘s Khandi Alexander, Sparkle‘s Mike Epps and Oscar winner Mo’Nique.

Bessie

premiers May 16 at 8 p.m. ET on HBO.