HBO movie "Bessie" to film in Covington
Just weeks after the crew of the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic “Selma” filmed in Covington, another film about an African-American icon is coming to town.
The HBO film “Bessie” about famed Blues singer Bessie Smith is planning to film scenes in downtown Covington between June 16-20.
The Covington City Council will vote at its Monday meeting on the production company’s request to film at multiple locations, including the Covington City Ceme- tery and homes on Emory, Conyers and Church streets.
The production company will set up its base camp at Legion Field, and also potentially use First Baptist Church and the Antiques and Stuff parking lot as well. The full list of closures will be available Monday. Actress Queen Latifah will play the role of Bessie Smith, according to the website Deadline Hollywood, along with actresses Mo’Nique (Precious) and Khandi Alexander (Scandal).
Smith was one of the most popular performing and recording artist of the 1920s and 1930s, performing at multiple venues and recording hundreds of songs for Columbia Records, with musicians including Louis Armstrong.
One of her frequent performing spots was Atlanta’s 81 Theater was on Decatur Street a thriving music and entertainment scene for Atlanta’s black residents, according to multiple sources, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Smith was so popular she was called the “Empress of the Blues” and became the highest-paid black entertainer, according to Chris Albertson’s biography “Bessie,” upon which the movie is based. The film is written and directed by Dee Rees.