Davis portrays the title character, recording a new record on the Southside of Chicago during the era. Her Ma Rainey lives in a segregated society, and in this adaptation of the August Wilson stageplay the singer is exploited by white record producers, and is lost, angry and burnt out. Davis is able to convey all of those emotions is a remarkable portrayal, embodying both the physical form and spirit of an old-timey entertainer who had to contend with both business humiliations and societal dismissal.
Viola Davis in Chicago, circa 2018
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for HollywoodChicago.