ByYashika Thakur, writer at

‘I am twenty-five years old, that ain't no old maid.
I got plenty of vim and vitality, I'm sure that I can make the grade.’

HBO Defined, with its special line-up of cult classics and spectacular originals, never fails to amaze us. And this time, it’s taking you back to the era of Blues. Yes! Stay tuned for the timeless appeal of traditional jazz music and the prolific story of the ‘Queen of the Blues’ this Saturday. Dee Rees’ long-simmering biopic, BESSIE premieres on September 5 at 10pm on HBO Defined, 100% ad-free.

With nine Emmy Awards nominations in 2015, this is clearly one of the most talked about movie of the year. Slightly episodic in charting Smith’s rise and fall, ‘Bessie’ on the whole is sprinkled with fabulous supporting performances to elevate a central tour de force that has helped it receive phenomenal appreciation by the critics worldwide.

This Drama movie is inspired from the true life happenings of the legendary singer-performer Bessie Smith, who rose from a struggling young singer to ‘The Empress of the Blues’ in 1920s and 30s. Queen Latifah plays the lead role in the movie, and she does full justice to that, adding to the grandeur of the movie. She aptly captures the real playful, vivacious spirit of the singer who was equally popular for her singing and sensational life. In Rees'­careful hands, the singer’s open-secret bisexuality is explored in neutral tones, rather than treated as a narrative ploy like most othe biopics. There is an effortless charm and rawness in the way the Era of Blues is depicted in the movie.

The excellence of the movie was equally appreciated at the Emmy Awards 2015. It got whopping nine nominations accruing to the brilliant performances by the actors, sound mixing and direction. Clearly, Queen Latifah as ‘Bessie’ inspires many minds and shows the magnificence of the Blues and how it transformed the concept of music for generations to come. For all those who are crazy for country music, especially, traditional, hippy-jazz likes, they should definitely stay at home this weekend. Reserve Saturday night, September 5 for watching the glorious story of ‘The Empress of the Blues’ on HBO Defined, 100% ad-free. Since this is going to be the Indian Television Premiere of the movie, make sure you make the most of the moment and dive into the roller-coaster experience of taking a flashback to the Afro-American setting of 1920s, where everything was comparatively light-hearted and easy.

Closing it in the style of Blues,

‘I need a little sugar in my bowl
I need a little hot dog on my roll
I can stand a bit of lovin', oh so bad
I feel so funny, I feel so sad...’

Do. Not. Forget. This Saturday at 10pm. Meet Bessie on HBO Defined.


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