4 New 'Bessie' Clips From HBO's Upcoming Biopic Starring Queen Latifah Prove Why She's The Perfect Vocal Choice — VIDEOS

Nearly 22-years after Queen Latifah was first approached by producers about Bessie , the film depicting legendary Blues singer Bessie Smith's life will finally be released next month. Premiering on HBO, Bessie stars the mega-talented Queen Latifiah in the title role. The film also stars Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire) as Bessie's husband, Jack; Khandi Alexander (Scandal) as Bessie's older sister, Viola; Mike Epps (Survivor's Remorse) as Richard, a bootlegger and romantic interest; and Mo'Nique (Precious) as blues legend Ma Rainey, just to name a few.

Latifah said of the role: "I have been excited about this project since the very beginning. When HBO got involved, we were thrilled and we worked together to make something that would capture Bessie's life honestly and respectfully."

Directed by Dee Rees (Pariah), Bessie chronicles the blues singer's tumultuous life from the vaudeville stages in the 1920's, until she ultimately took her place in history as "The Empress of the Blues" during the 1930's. Queen Latifah is probably most well known for her acting abilities; however her vocal range is absolutely sensational. Latifah performed a stunning rendition of "America the Beautiful" at the 2014 Superbowl, and prior to venturing into acting, she rose to fame as a hip-hop star, rapping about issues that greatly affect Black women.

HBO just released four new clips from Bessie, which prove that Queen Latifah was the perfect choice to give voice to the legend that is Bessie Smith. Take a listen.

"Lost Your Head Blues"

HBO on YouTube

Latifah's raspy vocals, backed by the sharp tones of the horn, makes "Lost Your Head Blues" a true gem.

"Preachin' The Blues"

HBO on YouTube

In this more upbeat number, Queen Latifah truly embodies Bessie. She shows the audience then she can do way more than belt out slow melancholy numbers about the harsh realities of the world.

"Weepin' Woman Blues"

HBO on YouTube

Mo'Nique joins Latifah as legendary singer Ma Rainey to create a dual vocal powerhouse in "Weepin' Woman Blues."

"Long Old Road"

HBO on YouTube

Accompanied by a small band, Latifah effortlessly belts out this elegant number to a hushed crowd.

Bessie is set to premiere on HBO, May 16th at 8 pm/ ET. Watch the full trailer below:

Image: Frank Masi/HBO