Queen Latifah to play Bessie Smith

Last week it was reported that Queen Latifah would be portraying Bessie Smith in a HBO movie. If you don’t know who Bessie Smith is, you better ask somebody!

“Bessie Smith earned the title of “Empress of the Blues” by virtue of her forceful vocal delivery and command of the genre. Her singing displayed a soulfully phrased, boldly delivered and nearly definitive grasp of the blues. In addition, she was an all-around entertainer who danced, acted and performed comedy routines with her touring company. She was the highest-paid black performer of her day and arguably reached a level of success greater than that of any African-American entertainer before her.” See more at: http://rockhall.com/inductees/bessie-smith/bio/#sthash.CUnrPOtu.dpuf

I think the Queen is a good choice for this role. She can actually carry a tune and exudes the same charming personality as the late Smith.

The film is being written and directed by Dee Rees, which means it may actually turn out decent. Rees was creative talent behind the heartwarming film “Pariah.” “Pariah” tells the story of a Black teen girl who struggles with coming out to her parents.  You have to check it out to see Rees skills.

Any who, I can’t wait to see this film. It’s been in the works for a while, so glad it’s finally moving forward.

Let me leave you with some Ms. Smith to kick off your week…

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Spike Lee on Oprah’s Next Chapter

Lately, black folks have been hard on Spike Lee. I remember when Django Unchained came out last year, and Lee made it known he wasn’t feeling the movie  I remember a lot of my younger black Facebook friends, really going in on him. Someone even posted, “I loved Django.  Spike Lee needs to shut the f*ck up.” I remember being shocked to read that.

Young black folks (and some older ones) don’t realize how much Spike Lee revolutionized black cinema.  These folks were babies/not yet born when Lee debuted his film “She’s Gotta Have It.” Lee has made classic black films like “School Daze,” “Do The Right Thing,” and “Malcolm X.”

While I do think Lee could/should improve his representations of black women,  I can’t bash the man. He has tried to show the humanity/complexity of black life. Who else could make a thoughtful film about the black survivors of Hurricane Katrina?  Or the moving story of the murder of four little girls?

I also respect Lee for supporting Dee Rees making her film “Pariah.” I believe strongly that ALL black stories need to be told. It was progressive of Lee to support a film about a young black lesbian.  The film was virtually ignored by black media/black celebrities. So, much props to Lee for putting himself out there.

Any who, I’m doing all this ranting because Lee is being featured on Oprah’s Next Chapter. Check it out, if ya can: