"Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom" Examines Generational Perspectives Among Black Men
With the coronavirus shutting down the TV/film industry, there was no certainty as to what would hit our screens this year. One film that will be released right before the end of 2020 is Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The film, which is based on the 1982 play of the same name by August Wilson, is getting Oscar buzz and stars Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Taylour Paige, Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman and Michael Potts.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was directed by George C. Wolfe and is centered around Ma Rainey attempting to record a few songs with her bandmates. The all-star cast was the personification of Black Excellence. This film is Chadwick Boseman's last film before he lost his life to colon cancer but his performance was nothing short of perfect.
The majority of the film's dialogue is between Ma Rainey's bandmates who speak about life from two generational perspectives. We had the opportunity to speak with Colman, Glynn and Michael about the film, the themes represented and its legacy.
One constant theme in the film is an age-old discussion between the old school versus the new school, where each generation believes the other should learn from them. "You can't just talk amongst yourselves, young folks. You got to talk to some people who've been there, who have stepped in the s*** you may be stepping in," Colman shares. The film also tackles the vulnerability Black men are afraid to show with the hope that they will understand that "your trauma is not unique to just you," Michael explains. " Other people who have had that same trauma, and they hurt too and they'd come through and they maybe can help you with it."
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom hits Netflix this Friday.