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Queen Latifah: 'You have to be fearless' in taking on Bessie Smith's life

Queen Latifah: 'You have to be fearless' in taking on Bessie Smith's life

She was a 22-year-old rapper when she auditioned for the part of hard-living, Depression-era blues icon Bessie Smith. But Queen Latifah believed, even as a new actress, that she could bring something valuable to the role. "I had experienced a fair number of things when I was 22 years old," says the now-45-year-old multimedia force, in the offices of her production company on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City. "I had been running my own company for four years, I was managing some of the biggest artists in hip-hop. I was performing myself from the time I was 17 and my first single came out. I had traveled around the world a little bit, I had been around all kinds of people....

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