As a gay woman, avid historian and a lover of the Blues I am eager for this film’s release.

Bessie Smith was a Blues singer who rose from poverty to the top of the music industry during America’s most extravagant and outrageous era, the Jazz age. Well known for her bisexuality, Bessie did not apologize for this suffering criticism from the public and an irate husband. Bessie recorded over 200 songs before her death in 1937 and she is listed next to other Blues greats like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

Read more about Bessie’s boldness and music in this article.

Bessie premieres Saturday, May 16 at 8 p.m. on HBO