I screened Bessie on HBO and here are 10 things I learned:
1. Bessie Smith and her mentor, Ma Rainey were bisexuals.
2. The direcctor/writer//filmmaker was an intern at Frameline who produced the film in collaboration with HBO.
3. Both Bessie and Ma Rainey were cross-dressers.
4. The movie took 22 years to make.
5. Benny Goodman recorded with Bessie.
6. Queen Latifah portrayed Bessie and Mo'Nique portrayed Ma Rainey.
7. Dee Rees' mentor was Spike Lee.
8. The "Theater Owners Booking Association" was dubbed "Tough On Blacks Asses".
9. Bessie and Ethel Waters were contemporaries.
10. In a reversal of the "paper bag test," as my friend Eve Harris said: "no yellow bitches" will become the new "no more wire hangers".
Peace, love, compassion and blessings.