Chadwick Boseman’s final performance in Netflix’s Ma Rainey Black Bottom
It's been five months now since Chadwick Boseman lost his battle to cancer, and not a moment goes by that I do not think of him. I recently started watching Black Panther again, but it took some time to muster up the courage. Actors like Chadwick Boseman come around once in a lifetime. When I heard about his final film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, I was shocked that he had the energy to make more movies but was excited to see him perform one last time in a new film.
Originally set as a stage play by August Wilson in 1982, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom examines 20th-century life in Chicago for African American blues singers and musicians. The focus of this play is on the life of infamous blues singer Ma Rainey and her band. The play garnered critical success winning a Tony Award in 1984 for its powerful performances by Charles S. Dutton and Theresa Merritt . According to PostGazette.com, the film follows Rainey as she is recording new tracks for her latest blues album, but this recording session is anything but smooth as she clashes with the studio managers and her leading horn player Levee (Chadwick Boseman), who has dreams of becoming a musician in his own right.
So how did a 1982 stage play become a 2020 Netflix film? Well, Denzel Washington, of course! In 2017, Washington starred, directed, and produced August Wilson's play "Fences," with Viola Davis. Sometime after filming, Washington decided to bring more of Wilson's plays to the big screen. He began producing and working with director George C. Wolfe to bring Ma Rainey's Black Bottom to a broader audience. Side note: Washington knew Boseman since the beginning of his career when he unknowingly paid for him to go to an acting seminar at Oxford University. Therefore, the actors have a long history together.
Chadwick Boseman co-stars alongside Viola Davis (Ma Rainey) in this film, which is already receiving Oscar buzz for Boseman's performance. In particular, one scene has everyone singing his praises as his character (Levee) rages and questions the existence of God after hearing about a Black Pastor being confronted and tortured by a group of white men. The level of intensity in Boseman's screams and rage will send chills down the viewer's spine. As we all found out, later on, Boseman was battling colon cancer and died in August of this year. His compelling and gut-wrenching performance, along with Viola Davis's brilliance as an actress and her makeup transformation, surely will bring Netflix more oscar nods.
I want to add that the 2005 film "Bessie" starring Queen Latifa features Ma Rainey' as well. In 1990 the blues singer was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. For more information on Ma Rainey, click here. Be sure to check out the Netflix movie Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on December 18th. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or reach out to us on-air or at movieloversunite@gmail..com.