Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
This “Netflix Original” movie felt more like theater than film. In fact, it is based on a play of the same name, written by Pulitzer Prize- winning writer August Wilson, who also wrote Fences. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom features truly moving performances by Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis that I believe are award-worthy. Of course, this makes the loss of Boseman even more painful. The film includes an important education about the birth of the Blues – the inequities imposed upon Black artists who developed this genre (one that gave birth to so much more) but were not compensated for their talent.
I loved seeing the strength of the character Ma, who stood up for as much as she could, and wasn’t taking any of the abuse thrown her way. Also great was viewing the interactions between the “men in the band,“ each with their own stories and challenges, and seeing how they coped…some with faith, some with acceptance, and some with violence. This is a great movie/ theatre experience and should not be missed for the acting, history and music.
Dr. Marsha Gordon is President/CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. When she is not advocating for business, building the economy or creating job opportunities, you can find her at the movie theatre enjoying many different film genres. Most of the time, her husband Eli is with her… except if it is football season or if it is a very slow, sappy movie.
A version of this article first appeared in the February issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNewsis distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.