In celebration of the Golden Globe and SAG Award-winning film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Netflix in partnership with the GRAMMY Museum will present Ma Rainey: Mother of the Blues, a half-hour television special about the music icon and trailblazer. Airing on Monday, April 12th at 7:00pm PT on KCBS in Los Angeles, Ma Rainey: Mother of the Blues features filmmakers Denzel Washington, Todd Black and George C. Wolfe; the SAG winner and Oscar-nominated actress Viola Davis; music legends Bonnie Raitt, Branford Marsalis, Melissa Etheridge and Jimmy Jam; the Oscar-nominated hair, makeup, and costume team responsible for creating Ma’s distinctive look; and various cast members of the acclaimed Netflix film, which garnered lead actor SAG wins for Viola Davis and the Chadwick Boseman this past weekend.
An inspiring tribute to the artist herself, Ma Rainey: Mother of the Blues takes a deeper look at the real Ma Rainey — an incredible musician and pioneer, way ahead of her time, who overcame obstacles dealing with rights to her music, her sexuality, and her worth as a female in the 1920’s struggling to keep her band together. The special follows Ma Rainey’s story from her traveling minstrel shows to becoming one of the most powerful women of her time.
Following its airing on KCBS, the special will be available on COLLECTION:live, the GRAMMY Museum’s official streaming platform, beginning April 13 through May 1. Educators, through their relationship with the GRAMMY Museum, will have access to a treasure trove of materials about Ma Rainey and have the opportunity to host “History of the Blues” workshops, which will be taught to students throughout the school year.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is available on Netflix. The film is nominated for five Oscars, including Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Actor (Chadwick Boseman), Best Production Design (Karen O’Hara, Mark Ricker, Diana Stoughton), Best Costume Design (Ann Roth), and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson, Sergio Lopez-Rivera). With their nomination, Neal and Wilson made history as the first Black women to be nominated in the makeup and hairstyling category.
Image credit: David Lee / Netflix