Viola Davis Shows That Being The “Mother Of The Blues” Isn’t Easy In New Ma Rainey Teaser

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Viola Davis Ma Rainey
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Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which features Viola Davis as the “Mother of the Blues,” will premiere December 18 globally on Netflix.

A new teaser trailer has been released from the forthcoming Netflix film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In it, Viola Davis, who portrays the titular character, speaks on the challenges of being a blues musician, and her talent being taken advantage of by record producers.

“They don’t care nothin’ about me,” Davis says, the scene solely focused on her. “All they want is my voice. Well, I done learned that. And they gonna treat me the way I wanna be treated no natter how much it hurt ’em.”

They back there right now calling me all kinds of names. Calling me everything but a child of God,” she continues. “But they can’t do nothing else ’cause they ain’t got what they wanted yet. As soon as they get my voice down on one of them recording machines, 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 will premiere December 18 globally on Netflix. The film is an adaptation of August Wilson’s 1984 Broadway play, and is directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Denzel Washington. The movie also serves as Chadwick Boseman‘s final role, with the late actor portraying Levee, a seductive and impassioned horn player in Ma Rainey’s band. According to Davis, the late actor brought no ego aboard, despite filming the project on the heels of three consecutive box-office record-setters in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. 

“An actor of Chadwick’s status usually comes on and it’s their ego who comes on before them: This is what they want, this is what they’re not going to do. That was absolutely, 150 percent off the table with Chadwick. He could completely discard whatever ego he had, whatever vanity he had, and welcome Levee in,” Davis noted of Boseman’s presence on-set.

Additional cast members include Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, Taylour Paige, Dusan Brown, and Michael Potts.

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