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Every time I think about Queen Latifah, I think, you can’t hold a good woman down. Throughout her entire career, she has been the master of diversification. From rapper, to actress, to jazz singer, to talk-show host.

After taking off her talk-show host hat, Queen Latifah is donning the actress hat once again in the upcoming HBO film, Bessie. In the film, there’s a moment when Bessie Smith, played by Queen Latifah, sits naked.

Doing so in front of a movie crew, was a new experience for the 45-year-old renaissance woman.

In a recent interview with Uptown Magazine, Latifah said, “I’ve never done that before.” Still, she didn’t let the newness of the moment prevent her from getting the job done.

I don’t find [this nude scene] any more uncomfortable than kissing a girl in ‘Set It Off’ and stick to the script. You have to take your mind off of yourself and honor that character. Respect Cleo, respect Bessie.” 

Sexuality plays quite a significant role in Bessie’s life story, and so Uptown asked Latifah how she felt audiences would perceive Bessie’s bisexuality being played out so vividly on screen.

“I’m not really sure how people will feel about [Bessie’s bisexuality]. It’s not like it’s a secret with her story. She was just free.”

But back in the day, the idea of a free sexuality wasn’t as taboo as it is today. Latifah said, “People’s ideas in general are antiquated when it comes to who you love. We haven’t moved as quickly as we probably should. And the reality is that there’s always been gay people in the black community, so it’s not foreign to us. And not just as a black community but just a society as a whole…Who you choose to marry is really up to you and it’s not something you should be judged on. I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw. Couples should be protected under the laws of this country period. It actually angers me. It’s not unusual to let’s be adults and let’s move forward.”

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