The Museum of the Moving Image to Honor ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020): (L to R) Chadwick Boseman as Levee, Colman Domingo as Cutler, Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, Michael Potts as Slow Drag, and Glynn Turman as Toldeo. Cr. David Lee / Netflix

Director George C. Wolfe’s upcoming film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, will be honored by the Museum of the Moving Image in a virtual ceremony on December 15. Funds raised by the gala will support the Museum’s mission of exploring all facets of film, television, and digital media, and their educational programs, which serve more than 70,000 students each year. 

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is already garnering critical raves prior to its December 18 premiere on Netflix. Starring Viola Davis as Ma Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” the film, adapted from the play by August Wilson by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, is a powerful story of how one woman refuses to be defined by the role society placed her in. Set in 1920s Chicago, the film is said to be a testament to the fight against racial exploitation set to the mood and tone of the Blues, the one truly American form of artistic expression.

The event will feature appearances by the cast including Davis, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Jonny Coyne, Taylour Paige, Jeremy Shamos, and Dusan Brown; director Wolfe, writer Santiago-Hudson; producers Denzel Washington and Todd Black; costume designer Ann Roth; and composer Branford Marsalis.

“We are excited to honor Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, led by director George C. Wolfe, and the remarkable cast featuring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, as well as the many craftspeople whose faces don’t appear on camera, but whose work is essential in bringing August Wilson’s play to the screen,” said Carl Goodman, the Museum’s Executive Director. “We are grateful to Netflix for partnering with us to honor this important new film.”

For information about attending the Moving Image Awards Honoring Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, visit


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