Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis transforms into queer 1920s blues singer Ma Rainey in her latest film, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." The recently released trailer features Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman as horn player Levee. The film adaptation of the critically-acclaimed August Wilson play is scheduled to drop on December 18 on Netflix, and in select theaters in November.
Mikelle Street of Out Magazine has the scoop.
The plot centers around an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. Rainey, the Mother of Blues, is fighting for control of her music, against her white producer. As the trailer teases, it's not just control of her music though: Rainey controls it all.
"We'll be ready to go when madam says we'll be ready to go and that's the way it go round here," Rainey tells her manager at one point. A woman after our own hearts.
Rainey is a singular role in Wilson's repertoire that is an LGBTQ+ character.
"Ma was a lesbian and unabashed about her sexuality. "Went out last night with a crowd of my friends," she sang in her song "Prove It on Me." "Must have been women cause I don't like men."
And approaching the sexuality aspect in the right way was something that was important to Davis.
In a press event today, Davis said that she wanted to "not make that a negative. When I read about Ma Rainey, she simply was," she said. "Dussi Mae was her woman, unapologetically."
In the film, Mae becomes a point of contention as the band's new horn player Levee (played by Chadwick Boseman) has his eye on her.
Check out the trailer for 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom' below. You can also check out a special report we anchored in 2018 in Rainey's hometown of Columbus, Georgia here.