Multi talent Queen Latifah keeps it going with her new role as blues singer Bessie Smith, premiering on HBO this spring. Known for her critically acclaimed performance in Chicago as Matron “Mama” Morton and her soulful and jazz vocals, Latifah combines both talents in bringing the story of Bessie Smith to life. Smith was a successful blues singer in the 1920s and 1930s and was regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era alongside Louis Armstrong. “I would pray, ‘Okay, Bessie, tell me what to do here.’ That hopefully her spirit would sort of come into me,” Latifah told the Television Critics Association in Pasadena. “I felt like it did because there were just certain things that I couldn’t believe that she did,” reports eurweb.com. “Her music may be almost 100 years old, but it has a power a lot of artists could learn from today,” Latifah said. Smith herself would be a success if she were a contemporary artist, Latifah said of the singer who died in 1937 at age 43,” she told the Associated Press. Starring alongside Latifah is Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Mike Epps, Tika Sumpter and Mo’Nique. The film is directed and co-written by Dee Rees and produced by Lili Fini Zanuck and Richard D. Zanuck.