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HBO & GA Film Office host ATL Premiere of ‘BESSIE’ [PHOTOS + VIDEO]

Ray Cornelius

The Atlanta screening of HBO's “Bessie” starring Queen Latifah was held last night at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University. The VIP event was hosted by the film’s producer Shelby Stone and the film’s star Tory Kittles. “Bessie” also features Tika Sumpter, Mo'NiqueMichael K. WilliamsKhandi Alexander and Mike Epps.

“Bessie” stars Latifah as legendary blues singer and actress Bessie Smith. The film, which took 22 years to make, takes 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. The film was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Dee Rees of “Pariah” fame and is executive produced by Latifah’s Flavor Unit. Smith was known as the “Empress of the Blues” and influenced such illustrious singers as Billie HolidayAretha FranklinDiana RossJanis Joplin and Nina Simone.

A  number of Atlanta celebrities were in attendance including film and stage actresses, Donna Bisco andMaria Howell; legendary casting director, Reuben Cannon and his wife, “Drumline2? actress, Jasmine Burke; “Living Single” actor, T.C. Carson, “A Different World” star, Jasmine Guy; comedic actor, Rodney Perry; Bronze Lens Film Festival Founder, Kathleen Bertrand, media personality, Karyn Greer; and actress, Tammy McGarity.
“Bessie” was film mostly in the Atlanta metropolitan area and featured a number of recognizable singers, actors and  jazz musicians including Kamryn Johnson, Sylvester JamesJoe Knezevich, Reggie Hines, Joe GransdenDashill Smith and more.

Check out a few photos below: 

Credit Ray Cornelius
Brad James with Maria Howell and Donna Bisco
Credit Ray Cornelius
Jazz singer Kathleen Bertrand with media personality Karyn Greer
Credit Ray Cornelius
Actors T.C. Carson and Jasmine Guy
Credit Ray Cornelius
"Bessie" actors Tory Kittles and Sylvester James with Jazz Saxophonist Reggie Hines
Credit Ray Cornelius
Mo'Nique's dress from the film. She plays blues legend, Ma Rainey.

Check out the trailer below: