Quick Facts About Ma Rainey:
Born: Gertrude Pridgett
April 26, 1886 (Columbus, GA)
December 22, 1939 (Rome, GA)
Most Known As: The Mother of Blues
Posthumous Recognition: Inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame 1983 & Inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1990
Exactly one week ago, on December 18, 2020, the world finally got the opportunity to experience the on-screen magic captured by triple crown award-winning actress Viola Davis (Ma Rainey) and the award-winning late actor (Chadwick Boseman) (Levee). I consider this rendition a beautiful adaptation of August Wilson’s play, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Black Bottom chronicled an eventful day in Chicago where Ma Rainey and the band recorded one of her soulful and blues-driven records.
Throughout the movie, the audience witnesses the strain and struggle of conflict both internally and externally with Ma Rainey and Levee, a highly emotional and troubled trumpet player. Without given away parts of the movie, if you haven’t gotten the opportunity to see it yet, I will say this. I fully believe that both Davis and Boseman will be receiving awards for their portrayals in this film.
The film also featured stellar performances from other notable black Hollywood legends. I hope one thing that will come about with this movie is the adaptation of more plays from August Wilson and Ma Rainey’s full story’s adaption. After the feature, a 30-minute featurette about making the film and the story behind how the actors prepared for their roles aired. In the featurette titled Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: A Legacy Bought to Screen, the director, producer, and costume director all talked about Ma Rainey’s experience and plight as an early pioneer blues and Race Records industry.
This film was just the tip of the iceberg as far as I’m concerned. I would love to see more of her life come to screen, given that she was considered a hidden figure until more research and study on her life and her contributions to the world of blues and black entertainment was revealed. So, since we are in the holiday break, go ahead and check out Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Netflix now. Also, check out the following videos that give more details and accounts on Ma Rainey and Race Records’ history below: Until next time, happy streaming!
Referenced Articles and Links:
YouTube Videos embedded from YouTube Accounts: Netflix, YouTube and Biography.