HBO sets date with Bessie

Queen Latifah will star as legendary blues singer Bessie Smith when HBO debuts its original TV movie Bessie next month.

Bessie

Bessie

The film, from director Dee Rees, focuses on Smith’s transformation from a struggling singer into one of the most successful recording artists of the 1920s.

The cast also includes Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tory Kittles, Tika Sumpter, Oliver Platt, Bryan Greenberg, Charles S Dutton, and Mo’Nique.

Bessie is produced by A Flavor Unit Entertainment and A Zanuck Company.

It is written by Rees, Christopher Cleveland, and Bettina Gilois. The executive producers are Richard D Zanuck, Lili Fini Zanuck, Queen Latifah, Shakim Compere, Shelby Stone and Randi Michel. Ron Schmidt produces.

The film will premiere on May 16.