American Masters

Monologue from "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" by August Wilson

Clip: Season 29 Episode 2 | 47s

"White folks don’t understand about the blues," says Ma Rainey in the play, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," set in a Chicago recording studio in 1927. This dramatic reading created for August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand is performed by Ebony Jo-Ann. The play premiered in 1984 at Yale Repertory Theatre and opened on Broadway the same year to win a New York Drama Critics Circle award.

Aired: 02/20/15

Rating: TV-PG

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Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional funding is provided by Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Judith and Burton Resnick, Ellen and James S. Marcus, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, Lenore Hecht Foundation, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, and public television viewers.