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Queen Latifah’s upcoming HBO film hasn’t premiered yet and it is already garnering buzz. The rapper/actress will portray the late blues legend Bessie Smith in the cable biopic, where she will also serve as the executive producer. Latifah’s movie will focus on the blues great nicknamed “The Empress of the Blues,” and how she became one of the most popular singers in the 20s and 30s, despite her troubled personal life. During an appearance at the Televisions Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, Latifah opens up about being offered the role 22 years ago, but she turned it down. Why did she turn it down? Latifah claims she wasn’t ready for it just let. According to Latifah:

If anything, I came to have a little more story. When the project came my way, I don’t think I had the life journey that went along with it. I got to live more of the blues.

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What’s changed the former talk show host’s mind now? Latifah charges it was her admiration for the blues. Latifah remarked:

The blues, the blues, I’ve gained such a great amount of respect for the blues … The blues are just as stunning to me now as when this first came to me. If anything, I feel like I have a little more of the story of what Bessie had to say.


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Queen Latifah Reveals Passing On ‘Bessie’ Project 22 Years Ago  was originally published on