12 Days of Pride: From Bessie Smith To Dee Rees

A full circle moment of pride.

We have a special double duo for 12 Days of Pride. Two Black queer women who are connected via music and film is definitely something to celebrate.

First, there is the iconic empress of the blues, Bessie Smith. She was a queer woman who made no apologies and became famous with songs from the 1920s like "Downhearted Blues,” "The St. Louis Blues” and "T'ain't Nobody's Biz-Ness if I Do.” Sadly, Bessie died in 1937 at 43 years old after a fatal car crash.
For many years, her story wasn’t widely known until another Black queer woman,  director and writer Dee Rees, made the HBO biopic in 2015 – appropriately titled Bessie, which starred Queen Latifah. Rees told Bessie's story to the masses, letting a whole new generation know about the legacy of this blues singer.
Watch drag superstar Shangela salute to Bessie Smith and Dee Rees in the video above.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.