Directed by Pariah ‘s Dee Rees , Bessie intimately captures the life, rise to international fame, and personal heartbreaks of the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.
In the trailer above, we see a glimpse of Bessie (played by Queen Latifah ) meeting her mentor and rival, blues legend Ma Rainey ( Mo’Nique ), career troubles, the tension between Bessie and her older sister Viola ( Khandi Alexander , and the strained relationship with her husband Jack Gee ( Michael K. Williams ).
The cast is rounded out by Mike Epps as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; Tika Sumpter as Lucille, a performer and romantic interest; Tory Kittles as Bessie’s older brother, Clarence; Oliver Platt as famed photographer and writer Carl Van Vechten ; Bryan Greenberg as renowned record producer and music critic John Hammond and Charles S. Dutton as Ma Rainey’s husband, William “Pa” Rainey .
The story was written by Horton Foote and Rees, with screenplay penned by Rees, Christopher Cleveland and Bettina Gilois .
Produced by Ron Schmidt , the film is executive produced by Latifah, Shakim Compere , Lili Fini Zanuck , Richard D. Zanuck , Shelby Stone and Randi Michel .
Bessie airs on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 8:00 pm on HBO.