Was Ma Rainey a Real Person? The Legacy of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

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We have seen plenty of motion pictures previously few years about larger-than-life figures in all industries, however Netflix has determined to ring within the vacation season with a very inspirational story. Ma Rainey’s Black Backside is customized from the August Wilson play of the identical identify, and whispers of Oscar nominations have began to circle. Audiences have been questioning if Ma Rainey was an actual particular person following the discharge of the movie. 

Ma Rainey will without end go away her mark on historical past.

In an article from The Guardian about Ma Rainey, it is clear that not solely is she an actual particular person, however that she lived an unimaginable life. She claimed to be born Gertrude Pridgett in Columbus, Ga., in 1886, however in response to a 1910 census, she might as an alternative have been born in Alabama. Ma had 5 siblings, of which she was the second-oldest. 

Supply: Getty Pictures

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Through the early 1900s, there was a excessive demand for music particularly from Black musicians. She was found and signed to Paramount in 1923, the place she laid down eight songs in Chicago (which later turned the setting for August Wilson’s play). Her recording profession was to final simply 5 years, however she was extraordinarily prolific and ended up recording over 100 songs. 

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Supply: Getty Pictures

For her commendable profession, Ma needed to battle with white producers to be unapologetically herself. There are rumors of Ma’s sexual identification being bisexual, and her songs proudly described paramours of each women and men. Between her out-and-proud identification and her function in shaping music historical past, Ma was actually a girl earlier than her time. Paramount ultimately canceled her contract as a result of blues was not deemed “trendy.”

Supply: Netflix

‘Ma Rainey’s Black Backside’ explores Ma’s wrestle for management of her music.

August Wilson wrote the play Ma Rainey’s Black Backside practically 100 years after her start, however the message and focus of the play don’t maintain any much less significance to the 1980s or the current day. The play, named for each Ma’s track and the favored dance “black backside,” encapsulate Ma’s time recording for Paramount in Chicago together with her band.

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As explored within the Netflix movie of the identical identify, Ma’s struggles weren’t simply with the white producers who successfully held the keys to her complete life’s work. The character of Levee, performed onscreen by the late Chadwick Boseman, clashes with Ma’s character over music and her girlfriend, Dussie Mae, performed by Taylour Paige.

Supply: Netflix

In the end, the chance to see Ma Rainey’s life — embodied by legendary actress Viola Davis no much less — on display is a present for the vacation season. With rave evaluations and a famous person forged, it is certain to be not less than a nominee this February for the Oscars. You possibly can watch Ma Rainey’s Black Backside now on Netflix or in choose theaters. 

About the author


Derek is the great gaming geek for longer than he cares to admit and love everything about the gaming world. He is connected with tech work from the last five years and always loves to learn and writer new about the current technology. You can mail him @ derek@rexweyler.com.

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