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Netflix Gives First Look At Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman In ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

The project, which was the final film role for Boseman, debuts on Dec. 18.

Netflix debuted the first look at the forthcoming, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, on Wednesday (Sept. 30). The film stars Viola Davis as the jazz legend, and Chadwick Boseman as her trumpeter, Levee.

Shot in Pittsburg last year, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom marks Boseman’s final film role. Boseman, 43, succumbed to colon cancer last month. “He did a brilliant job, and he’s gone,” said Denzel Washington, who is a producer on the film, told the New York Times. “I still can’t believe it.”

Adapted from August Wilson’s play of the same name, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is helmed by director George C. Wolfe, and centers around the 1920s Chicago recording session of “Mother of the Blues.” The plot addresses topics of race, music, relationships, Rainey’s battle for control over her music, and exploitation of Black artists.

The “Godmother of blues,” whose birth name was Gertrude Pridgett, was born in Columbus, Ga, in 1886. Rainey started out performing in talent shows in her hometown, when she was around 12 years old. She went on to launch the Alabama Fun Makers Company with her husband prior to joining the Rabbit’s Foot Company where they performed in minstrel shows during the early 1900s. Husband and wife were known as “Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues,” before Rainey's career took her to New Orleans. In the Big Easy, Rainey met jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Joe “King” Oliver, Pop Foster, and Sidney Bechet. She was introduced to the blues in the early 1920s, signed a record deal with Paramount and became friends with singer Bessie Smith.

Rainey recorded over 100 songs in a span of just five years. She would later collaborate with Armstrong on multiple songs, and toured the South and Midwest with pianist Thomas Dorsey and the Wildcats Jazz Band. The groundbreaking powerhouse was also known for boldly singing about her bisexuality, most notably in “Prove It on Me,” released in 1928. Rainey’s career went into the decline during the latter portion of the '20s and she was eventually let go from Paramount. In the last five years of her life, Rainey had returned to her hometown where she ran three theaters. She died from a heart attack in 1939 at age 53.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom premieres on Netflix on Dec. 18.

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Cardi B Lands Leading Role In Comedy ‘Assisted Living’

Cardi B is making her way back to the big screen. The Bronx native officially landed her first leading role in the upcoming Paramount comedy, Assisted Living.

According to Variety, Cardi will play a small time crook struggling to find a hiding place after her latest heist fails. Her character, “Amber,” disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out at her grandmother's nursing home. The film is described as a “raucous comedy” similar to Mrs. Doubtfire and Sister Act.

Paramount acquired the rights to Assisted Living in 2019. The film’s script was penned by This Is Us writer, Kay Oyegun.

Cardi, 28, made her film debut in the 2019 celeb-heavy stripper flick, Hustlers. The “WAP” rapper appears to have hinted at her Assisted Living role in a recent interview with Billboard where she dished on filming scenes for Fast & Furious 9.

“After ‘Hustlers’ I filmed a little bit for 'Fast & Furious' so I felt like ‘I’m ready for this,’ I knew what to expect,” she explained. “But the characters were a little different so I was like ‘Oh wow, I’m going to need more acting classes.’ I’m planning on doing a movie this year and I’m going to be the lead role so I’m like ‘I need to execute this flawlessly.’”

Besides film, Cardi was a judge on the Netflix completion show, Rhythm & Flow, and landed her own Facebook Watch series, Cardi Tries.

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Netflix Gives Sneak Peek Of Jay-Z Produced Western ‘The Harder They Fall’

Netflix gave a preview of the streaming giant's upcoming films on Tuesday (Jan. 12). Among them, the highly anticipated western, The Harder They Fall.

Produced by Jay Z and written and directed by musician Jeymes Samuel, the film stars Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Lakeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz and Woody McClain.

The Harder They Fall follows the fictional character, Nat Love (Majors), as he seeks revenge on the man who murdered his parents. Besides signing on as a producer, Hov also created original music for the film.

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed filming, which began in March of last year in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Filming resumed in September but was paused again after one of the actors tested positive for coronavirus.

“What I love about movies is that they can make you feel every emotion,” King says in the Netflix teaser.

“And show you something you’ve never seen before,” adds Majors while clips from their film plays on the screen.

The Harder They Fall is one of 27 films headed to Netflix. See more in the video below.

2021 = a new movie EVERY WEEK on Netflix. Here's a sneak peek at 27 of the biggest, brightest, fastest, funniest, feel-good, feel-everything films and stars coming to Netflix this year pic.twitter.com/iCr1ZPrc7W

— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) January 12, 2021

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Issa Rae Announces ‘Insecure’ Will End After Season 5

Insecure will return this year for a fifth and final season, Issa Rae revealed on Wednesday (Jan. 13). In a statement to Deadline, Rae and executive producer Prentice Penny showed gratitude to HBO and fans of the show.

“Prentice and I are so grateful that HBO believed in our show from the beginning and kept the faith in us to see our vision through the end,” said Rae.“We always planned to tell this story through five seasons, but we couldn’t have made it this far without the tremendous support of our audience. I feel blessed beyond measure to bring our characters’ stories to an end, on-screen at least.”

HBO’s Programming EVP Amy Gravitt, noted that Rae has “turned insecurity into an iconic form of comedy.”

Based off the 36-year-old’s popular Awkward Black Girl YouTube series, lnsecure was created by Rae and Larry Wilmore. The series premiered on HBO in 2016.

Season five will reportedly begin filming later this month with Rae, Yvonne Orji, Jay Ellis, Natasha Rothwell and Amanda Seales all expected to return. The previous season ended with Rae’s character at yet another crossroads with her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Lawrence (played by Ellis).

Season five of Insecure debuts later this year.

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