Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
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Ma Rainey Licensed Merchandise
Ma Rainey created what is now known as "classic blues" while also portraying black life like never before. As a musical innovator she built on the minstrelsy and vaudeville performative traditions with comedic timing and a hybrid of American blues traditions she encountered in her vast tours across the country. She helped to pioneer a genre that appealed to North and South, rural and urban audiences. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a 1982 play that chronicles the 20th-century African-American experience. The play is set in Chicago in the 1920s, and deals with issues of race, art, religion, and the historic exploitation of black recording artists by white producers. The play's title comes from Ma Rainey's song which refers to the Black Bottom dance. Ma Rainey was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
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