In 1930s Harlem, Bessie Smith was a married woman who kept a female lover. In The Boy in the Boat, the singer belted out: "When you see two women walking hand in hand, just look 'em over and try to understand: They'll go to those parties -- have the lights down low -- only those parties where women can go." And the bisexual singer was known to have keep lots of lovers while touring, once harshly telling Lillian Simpson, her lover at the time: "I got 12 women on this show, and I can have one every night if I want it."
Now Queen Latifah will portray the legendary lesbian blues singer in a biopic, titled Bessie, written and directed by Out100 honoree Dee Rees. Since Bessiewill tell the story of the legendary Smith's "turbulent personal life and her transformation into one of the most iconic singers of the 20th century," and Rees is open about her sexuality and also wrote and directed Pariah, about a young African-American woman's coming out to her family, we can only assume that the film will also address the queer scene of the era.
Latifah is also an executive producer of the project, which has an all-star cast that includes Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Charles S. Dutton, and Mo'Nique. There is no release date as of yet.