Queen Latifah's biopic of legendary blues singer Bessie Smith will air on HBO on May 16 according to reports from Billboard. Latifah, who re-recorded many of the 1920's-era singer's most famous songs for Bessie, worked with director Dee Rees to get the film done. "When the project came my way, I don't think I had the life journey that went along with it. I got to live more of the blues, " the rapper/singer/actress said at the winter Television Critics Associate press conference.

The film captures Smith's early struggles and her eventual rise to becoming one of the first major blues stars. The singer died tragically in a 1937 car accident at the age of 43.

Along with Laitfah, the film features Academy Award winner Mo'Nique as Rainey along with Bryan Greenberg, Michael Kenneth Williams, Khandi Alexander, Tory Kittles, Mike Epps, Oliver Platt and Charles S. Dutton. A soundtrack to the film is expected.

The announcement of the film's air date is a nice bounce back for Latifah after her show, The Queen Latifah Show, was canceled in Nov. After being canceled, Latifah did an admirable thing by paying her staff out of her own pocket. The show will air through March.