The Misrepresentation of Ma Rainey

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Viola Davis is an unspeakable talent. Viola Davis is stunning. Viola Davis is powerful. Viola Davis should have stepped aside for an actress who didn’t need a fat suit.

As the trailer for Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom made its worldwide debut earlier this year, I knew two things were going to be true: 1) Viola Davis would deliver a masterclass in acting and 2) Ma Rainey’s story would not be told with dignity and integrity because the lead actress would don a fat suit.

Ma Rainey was a fat, queer, dark-skinned, blues-singing Black woman, also known as The Mother of the Blues. I was so excited when I found out we’d be getting August Wilson’s play centering Ma Rainey on the screen. However, what we got was not the Ma Rainey we all deserved.

As I watched Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, I couldn’t help but focus on Davis’ misplaced fat suit. It felt as if…

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