Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and the Hidden Gears of Racism

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. (Netflix)
August Wilson’s powerful play comes to the screen.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE A ugust Wilson’s Century Cycle — ten plays, each set in a different decade of the 20th century — is one of the monumental achievements of the American theater and one that figures to grow in relevance in coming years, given the plays’ focus on black Americans’ struggle to deal with the facts of the collective past. It is to the great credit of Denzel Washington, one of the few Hollywood superstars equally dedicated to the theater, that he has set about putting the entire cycle on film with first-rate casts and directors so that anyone, not just theatergoers, can experience

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