The lady owns any space. When she walks onto a stage, or down a street, she has music on her mind and fairness in her soul. There’s no room for the incidental. She has fought too many battles to own today. And, because she proudly wears her scars, she won’t let anyone take her back one step.
The movie adaptation of August Wilson’s play, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” transports us to a hot summer afternoon in Chicago in 1927. A popular Black blues singer arrives at a recording studio with specific expectations for how she and her entourage should be treated. Her nephew, despite a stutter, should perform in one song; the musical arrangements, although considered by some in her band to be dated, should be followed without question; ice-cold bottles of Coca-Cola should be provided and all payments must be in cash. This lady she has endured too much to bend. She rarely feels a luxury to relax. Or trust.