Queen Latifah is going to star as Bessie Smith in HBO’s new movie “Bessie”. This movie is the biography of the 20’s blues queen. The movie is released on 16th May.
Bessie Smith born on April 15th 1894, used to perform in streets before she rose to stardom. Her music was about passion and violence. Her private life was as scandalous as her lyrics. She even gives tip-offs about her affairs and hookups in her songs. She was the lead female singer of her time. She was so good that even the white population was mesmerized by her.
No one could copy the queen of blues even to this date. She was one of a kind. Even after a century she is the most prominent blues singer. For those of you who don’t know about blues; it’s a jazz music developed from the African American music.
Even today singers take lessons from Bessie Smith’s songs. Her songs contain pure passion and a crude humor. The audience can still relate to her songs. Her songs contain such content which is more suitable for our time.
It’s astonishing that HBO took such a long time in making a biography of Bessie. She is the singer who invented the hip hop culture. She gave the pop culture so much, even before it existed.
Queen Latifah is the best choice for Bessie’s role. Latifah claims that she didn’t know who Bessie was before being casted for the role. But once she got to know her she could hear her voice in many singers that came after her. She also said that if Bessie was alive today none of the other singers could stand a chance in front of her.
Bessie before the age of ten was an orphan. She used to perform in streets. But soon became famous and started performing in theatres. Audience used to be awestruck by her live performance in times where there were no amplification instruments or microphones. The quality of her recordings is so great that it surprises me how she did it without the modern equipment.
Her fans adored her. She made a lot of money when she was at her peak. She made almost 2000$/ week.
She was a courageous woman. Many people were impressed only by her music but also by her courage. She was an inspiration to many authors. James Baldwin said that she was his inspiration. He was able to complete his first novel due to Bessie and he thought he could never finish it. He used to play Bessie’s songs and her music inspired him so much that he was able to write his novel.
None of the blues singers could beat Bessie but the Great Depression shattered the US music industry. There was a decline in record sales of 90 percent. This destroyed her career. Whenever she would find work Bessie would perform. Her voice never lost the charm it had.
Smith could have been a big hit after World War 2 when the blues started revived in the music industry. But unfortunately she died in a car accident at the age of fourty-three. Many argued afterwards that she could have survived had she been given the proper medical care.