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Queen Latifah to play blues singer Bessie Smith in HBO biopic

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Queen Latifah will star as blues singer Bessie Smith in an upcoming HBO biopic.

The upcoming movie will be based on Chris Albertson's book Bessie, and is to chronicle Smith's turbulent private life during the peak of her fame in the 1920s and '30s.

Queen Latifah at the BET Black Girls Rock event

© Rex Features / MediaPunch


Latifah is slated to executive produce the television movie, while Dee Rees (Pariah) will write and direct the project.

There is no airdate yet for the biopic.

Latifah most recently starred in the television adaptation of Steel Magnolias, and also hosts her own daytime chatshow.

Smith was one of the most well-known blues singers of the early 20th century, earning membership in the Grammy Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

She died at the age of 43 in 1937 after a horrific car accident Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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