The stars were not always shining on those that made the blues back in the 1920s.
The hard life for Black music makers takes the deserved spotlight in <em>Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom</em>, the fantastic 2020 Netflix drama directed by George C.Wolfe from a screenplay by Ruben Santiago-Hudson based on the play by August Wilson.
Ma Rainey is the deep voiced blues singer who’s unquestionably the queen of the south. This story follows her trip to Chicago for a recording session with her talented.
Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman are fabulous as the singer and trumpet player, both headstrong in ways they must be to deal with the way the world deals cards to not only singers and trumpet players but anybody of their color with aspirations to make good with their talents. Oh, wait, they know full fell. Anybody of their color, really.
Tensions are high throughout as the band members learn to deal with the new trumpet player’s wishes to have the old band perform the music his way. He’s already struck a deal with the White recording people to get things done his way. They scoff because, well, they know better. And when Rainey walks in late (yes, her prerogative and necessary code of behavior) indeed anything management promised means not a thing to her. Things must go her way.
A stressful life this is, and the past catches up to some of them.
Boseman of course showed his star power full force. RIP. Oh, how he is missed.