Queen Latifah Sings the Blues in Her New Film 'Bessie'

The multi-talented actress and singer produced and stars in the new HBO film.
5:25 | 05/13/15

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Transcript for Queen Latifah Sings the Blues in Her New Film 'Bessie'
Would you look who's here. Doing this. Actress queen latifah. Hey. Not only does she star -- she's also an executive producer of the new HBO movie "Bessie." All about legendary blues singer Bessie smith's rise from obscurity to international fame in this clip, oh. The empress of blue, that's what she's known as, confronts her mentor model rainy played by Monique. You're busted because they was yelling for me. You better turn your damper down. I ain't scared of you. I ain't never asked you to be. All I asked you for was respect. Respect for yourself, respect for -- Respect all this extra money I'm bringing in. Oh, let me get you. Because I see you ain't learned your lesson yet. Throwing some serious shade. Let me get you, gal. It's great to have you, queen. You auditioned for this 20 some years ago and it's a passion project for you. You thought this story really needed to be told. Why. I think HBO even has a video of the audition, the original audition on the HBO website but it's a passion project for me because this is the role of a lifetime and when it came to me originally I was young and I had just really started acting. This would have been the biggest movie of my career to date. But what a character and what a life she lived and, you know, she did such amazing things for music, for women, for african-americans, for crossing barriers and color lines and really just lived her life as such a bold unapologetic way that this was a great role to play, just was so many places to go. And to see it, you know, you and Monique both just jump off the screen and the entire cast and you describe Bessie very well. I mean, she lived her life out loud. She had affairs with men, she had affairs with women. She was a hard drinker. She really just -- ahead of her time in many ways. I love how you said you had to take off your seat belt to play this role. I definitely had to because for me in order to really go there, I couldn't think about anything else. I couldn't think about, you know, coming off a two weeks before that being queen latifah the talk show host or being queen latifah the partner of flavor unit entertainment or being my mom's daughter -- I couldn't think about anything else and I couldn't have any fear in playing this character because she really deserves for someone to play her with that kind of fearlessness and I had to. Taking a seat belt off wasn't just about fighting scenes. There were some -- there was a rough and tumble. Oh, there's a bunch of rough and tumble ones but there's a lot of vulnerability that has to be shown. There's a lot of heartbreak that has to be played and a lot of singing that has to be done and so you have to let go. I had to let go in order to really immerse myself in her world. We know how you paved a way for many to come behind you, other rappers and Bessie did the same thing and people don't know her as well. But she really set the stage and really allowed the singer, Aretha franklin, others come behind her. If you hear -- if you like Mick jagger, if you like Janis Joplin, if you like Billie holiday, then you like Bessie smith. But that's what you don't know because she was alive 100 years ago so maybe you're not familiar with her music but I'm hoping people will check her out and find out who she is because she has such a huge influence all the music that you still hear today and to me that's just unbelievable. She's such a powerhouse voice and I only wish there was more footage of her and audio recordings done on today's equipment like had she sang into a microphone like we have you would they have hear another singer on this planet who soups as amazing and powerful as Bessie in that's something coming from you and I am sure she would be so proud of you and all that you have going on with your production company you alluded to. You have a film out. Yes, "Brotherly love" is out right now and many more to come shooting "Catch-22" in latch out in a few months. So many projects we're coming up the line with. We have a show coming up with my stylist Tim snell who everybody knows from the show on B.E.T. Called "Curb appeal." So excited about that. We have five shows on in the fall under it so we're excited about the work we're putting in and what we'll deliver. Are we going to hear any music. Music is coming. I'm working on the music and I can't even really talk about it yet because it's so exciting and top secret. I got to put it out. I do that in my sleep. You have a home here. We'll roll out the red carpet who, me. When, now? I love hearing you sing Bessie songs. I enjoyed it. I really did. I've never gotten to sing songs like that so it was fun and now I'm like taking some of her style and taking some of the blues and incorporating it into my style of music for today he audience. Wonderful. All the best to you. Robin, thank you. Such a pleasure to always speak to you. Always, always. And "Bessie" premieres Saturday. May 16th.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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