Viola Davis is starring in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom as Ma Rainey, an African American singer who was known as “Mother of the Blues.” Rainey was one of the first blues artists to record and has been credited as one who helped evolve the genre and bring about popularity.
Rainey died in 1936 at the age of 53.
Netflix, the distributor of the film, released an exclusive clip on Wednesday, Dec. 2. In it, Davis delivers a monologue of Rainey.
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Viola completely embodies the aptly named "Mother of the Blues" in this scene.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will premiere December 18 globally on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/PtXlJCpHHC
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) December 2, 2020
“They back there right now calling me all kinds of names. Calling me everything but a child of God,” Rainey (Davis) says. “But they can’t do nothing else ’cause they ain’t got what they wanted yet.”
She adds: “As soon as they get my voice down on one of them recording machine, then it’s just like I’d be some whore and they roll over and put their pants on. They ain’t got no use for me then.”
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is centered around an eventful afternoon recording session in Chicago circa 1920, which was first developed as a play in 1982 by the late playwright, August Wilson.
Davis stars alongside Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, and the late Chadwick Boseman. The film is directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Dany Wolfe, Todd Black, and Denzel Washington.
This is the final film appearance of Boseman, who succumbed to cancer in Aug. 2020.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will be released globally on Dec. 18 via Netflix.