In summer of 2019, one year before Chadwick Boseman died after a four year battle with colon cancer, the actor filmed what would become his final role in Netflix’s new drama, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, co-starring alongside Viola Davis (Ma Rainey).
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, is a star-studded adaptation of the 1982 August Wilson play about the legendary blues singer from Chicago. Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee. The film takes us back to 1927 as we follow Rainey and a group of musicians as they work through a Chicago recording session. Known as the “Mother of the Blues,” Rainey was one of the first blues artists to record her work.
“I got my time comin’ to me,” Boseman’s Levee character says during the trailer. The musician is not shy about expressing his frustration with how Rainey works or brands herself in the world of Blues. “I know how’s to play real music, not this jug-band sh**,” he later says.