Queen Latifah has movie fans buzzing with her new role as blues legend Bessie Smith in the upcoming HBO biopic “Bessie.” And true to the singer’s life, Latifah and HBO decided to cover Smith’s openness about her bisexuality, something that has fans even more intrigued by the movie. In a recent interview, Latifah, whose sexuality has been talked about for years, opened up about playing a bisexual role and about the homophobia that plagues the Black community in real life.
In a new interview with Uptown magazine, Latifah shared her thoughts on how fans will react to both seeing her play a bisexual and seeing Smith’s romantic life play out onscreen.
“I’m not really sure how people will feel about [Bessie’s bisexuality],” she says of whether folks will raise eyebrows about Bessie’s bedroom acrobatics. “It’s not like it’s a secret with her story. She was just free.”
Latifah also spoke about the difficulty many LGBT people in the black community endure trying to live as openly and freely as Smith did during the Harlem Renaissance, a period in which gay and lesbian Black artists seemed to thrive under the mainstream radar.
“People’s ideas in general are antiquated when it comes to who you love,” Latifah said. “We haven’t moved as quickly as we probably should. And the reality is that there’s always been gay people in the Black community, so it’s not foreign to us. And not just as a Black community but just a society as a whole.
“Who you choose to marry is really up to you and it’s not something you should be judged on. I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw. Couples should be protected under the laws of this country period. It actually angers me. It’s not unusual so let’s be adults and let’s move forward,” she added.
We couldn’t agree more with Latifah. But that’s not all she had to say about her new role as Smith. Read what she had to say about going fully nude for the movie after the cut.