First Look – Viola Davis & Chadwick Boseman In MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM
Coming to Netflix on December 18 is the film MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM.
Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award® winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.
This is not a biopic. While inspired by real life figure Ma Rainey, the film and the play are fiction.
Adapted from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM celebrates the transformative power of the blues and the artists who refuse to let society’s prejudices dictate their worth. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted for the screen by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, the film is produced by Fences Oscar® nominees Denzel Washington and Todd Black. Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Taylour Paige and Dusan Brown co-star alongside Grammy® winner Branford Marsalis’ score.
Interesting facts about Ma Rainey:
- Louis Armstrong was a member of Rainey’s backing band.
- Rainey was well ahead of her time, recording songs such as “Prove it on Me Blues” that featured LGBTQ themes that referenced her bisexuality.
- She was inducted into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1990.
- In 1994, Ma Rainey was the honoree of a US Post commemorative stamp.
- Bob Dylan’s song “Tombstone Blues” was influenced by the blues and references Ma Rainey