Posted by | Ray Cornelius  

HBO’s “BESSIE” is coming to a television near you this spring. The highly anticipated biopic about the 1920’s Blues singer, Bessie Smith, features Oscar-nominated actress Queen Latifah in the title role. Joining her on the screen are Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter, Tory Kittles, Charles S. Dutton and Mo’Nique. The film is being described as “an intimate look at the determined woman, whose immense talent and love for music took her from anonymity in the rough-and-tumble world of vaudeville to the 1920s blues scene and international fame, capturing her professional highs and personal lows, and ultimate legend.” [INDIE WIRE]

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and “Selma” actor David Oyelowo are reportedly in talks to star in the Disney film, “Queen of Katwe.” The project is based on the true story of Phiona Mutesi, a young woman from the slums of Uganda who went on to become a World Chess Olympiad with the help of her coach-mentor Robert Katende. Oyelowo would star as Katende and Nyong’o as Harriett Mutesi, Phiona’s mother. The two actors are already slated to star in a film adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah.” [BLACKFILM.COM]

The life of R&B/Gospel music legend Mavis Staples is coming to the SXSW Festival this spring. “MAVIS!” is the title of the new documentary that chronicles the rise of her family band (The Staple Singers) whose iconic music became the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement. It will also take a closer look at her career as a solo artist and her cultural influence. “MAVIS!” runs from March 13-21 at SXSW. [ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY]

Photo Credit: