Based on the play of the same name by August Wilson, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom follows the titular legendary blues singer as she and her band attend a Chicago recording studio. Before Ma (Viola Davis) even gets there, her band arrives early, and while most of them just want to practice, they keep getting sidelined by trumpeter Levee (Boseman). The horn player has an instinct for grandeur, and that involves setting himself up to record his own songs as well as make a move on Ma’s girlfriend.
Tensions begin to rise in the studio as the Black musicians constantly find themselves in conflict with the White managers and producers. In addition to a duo of powerhouse performances from Davis and Boseman, the film also stars Colman Domingo, Glynn Turman, and Michael Potts. George C. Wolfe directs the film, which is bound to be an awards contender later in 2021.