Queen Latifah has been tapped to play Bessie Smith, who was one of the founding mothers of the blues.

Bessie was a very popular blues singers in the 20’s and 30’s. She died at the age of 37 after a car accident.

Latifah was first asked to play Bessie back in her 20s, but decided not to. At the time, she says she really didn’t know who Bessie was and needed to become familiar with who she was and her role in history.

She says she’s glad she waited to take on the role because time has given her life experience and a deeper understanding of Bessie and her music.

The Bessie Smith Story will air on HBO this spring.

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