Watch: Queen Latifah Rise as “Empress of Blues” in Official Trailer for HBO’s ‘Bessie’

After teasing us last month, HBO has unveiled an official first trailer for its forthcoming biopic on “Empress of Blues” Bessie Smith!

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.

Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in 'Bessie' (2015)

Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in ‘Bessie’ (2015)

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.