Viola Davis Shares Pic of the Real Ma Rainey as ‘Ma Rainey's Black Bottom’ Hits #1 on Netflix

Viola Davis is honoring the blues legend who inspired one of her most recent movie roles.

On Instagram, the actress shared a vintage snap of Ma Rainey, the famous singer that she portrays in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (which, FYI, is officially in the top 10 movies on Netflix). Davis captioned the black-and-white headshot, "We are honoring you Queen. Thank you for your talent, your truth, your strength and your courage! #MaRaineyFilm [heart emojis]."

In the photo, a short-haired Ma Rainey smiles into the camera, wearing her signature headband, a pearl necklace and what appears to be a dazzling evening gown.

Not surprisingly, Davis totally nailed Rainey's look in the Netflix film, all the way down to her fashionable headgear and extravagant outfits.

Fans filled the actress's comments with praise for her ability to bring Ma Rainey to life—not just by imitating her style, but also, by capturing the singer's personality on screen.

One fan wrote, "Viola, you really embodied Ma Rainey from beginning to end. You really showed sooo much resilience, charisma and boldness in this film." Another fan said, "Start planning your acceptance speech. This is Oscar worthy!"

But fans weren't the only ones who were impressed. Even her costars revealed how moved they were by her performance. In a behind-the-scenes interview with Netflix, Dusan Brown (Sylvester) said, "I couldn't sense Viola Davis, I could only see her as Ma Rainey."

While talking about her experience playing the role, Davis revealed, "Ma is definitely the boldest, strongest character that I've played in [an August Wilson film]. Absolutely loved it."

Always a treat to see a queen portraying another queen.

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...