Watch the trailer for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ Chadwick Boseman’s final film

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
David Lee/Netflix

Honestly, it’s still pretty goddamn hard to write about the passing of Chadwick Boseman, even a month and a half after the iconic actor died after a four-year battle with colon cancer. Perhaps it’s because he was just so young and so talented, and we expected to be writing about him for years and years to come; perhaps it’s because his loss is a venue for us to grieve en masse for everything that fate has taken from us in this horrible, horrible year; perhaps it was because of just how cruel it was for his passing to come after a summer in which we took to the streets to stand for Black lives and against white supremacy… either way, it still feels as raw and as fresh as it did in August. But we should celebrate his life and work, and we can do so today by watching the trailer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which features Boseman’s final performance. Netflix released the trailer for the film earlier on Monday, and it looks fantastic.

Take a look:

Here’s a synopsis (though we recommend seeking out a copy of Wilson’s play and reading it for yourself, it is an incredible work of literature on its own):


Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary “Mother of the Blues,” Ma Rainey (Academy Award winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom hits select theaters and Netflix on December 18.