Viola Davis Is Neither A Protagonist Nor Antagonist In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

“She is a liberated woman”

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is all set to make its debut on Netflix this December and there are a number of reasons that make it a much-deserved candidate on your must-watch list. One reason is the chance to watch an ace actor like Viola Davis bring to life the vibrant real-life personality of Ma Rainey, one of the earliest African-American professional blues singers who is denoted as the ‘Mother of the Blues.’ As per reports, the character is set to divide audiences between liking her and hating her guts but according to Davis she doesn’t view the role she plays as either a “protagonist or antagonist.”

As reported by Cinemablend, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will see Viola Davis playing the various shades of the titular character who will often come across as a symbol of power and sensitivity, but there are certain scenes that her domineering presence may make the viewers root against her. But for Davis…

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has a “liberated woman” who “knew her worth”

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“I don’t view her as a protagonist or antagonist, because I can’t. An actor doesn’t do that. It’s like, you’ve got to portray the character exactly who they are. Whether they’re a protagonist or an antagonist, that’s for the audience, that’s a judgement. I portrayed her as a woman who literally is born in a world that doesn’t value her at all – that doesn’t even recognize her as a human being, but she is a person who understands her worth.”

Viola Davis

“So, therefore, she’s a woman who absolutely has busted a hole through 1927. She is a liberated woman,” she shared, explaining her character in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. 

“She is those people that you don’t know where the hell they came from, you know? It’s like where were you born? And she was born in Columbus, Georgia, actually. So I just saw her as a woman who knew her worth and wasn’t going to concede. It wasn’t up for discussion. I know that [as Ma] I’m great at what I do, I know it’s making you money, I should be called the Mother of the Blues.”

I’m influencing all these other singers, so you treat me like I deserve to be treated. And that’s it. That’s how I saw her. And of course other things, too, unapologetic about her s*******, certainly a sensitivity and a maternal instinct and all of those things,” she further added. 

To see such an impactful character brought to life on the screen is certainly a treat in combination to the fact that this is the last film of late actor Chadwick Boseman, who recently passed away after bravely fighting colon cancer for 4 years. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is all set to present two legends on 18th December 2020 and you better clear your schedule.

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