On April 255th, Viola Davis paid tribute to her late Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom co-star, Chadwick Boseman. The actor passed away in August at the age of 43 after battling colon cancer for 4 years.
Viola paid tribute to him while at the Oscars 2021 and according to her, Chadwick was the real deal. She is one of the stars who is nominated for Best Actress in a Leading role for her portrayal of famed blues singer Ma Rainey. The actress shared how it feels right that Chadwick received so many awards for his performance in their movie.
She said, “It’s like I said before, he was authenticity on steroids. You know, sometimes, people honor people who actually were not really nice or really the persona did not match the real person. This—it matches the person.”
The actress further continued as she noted that Chadwick did not mistake his presence for the event. She called him an “artist” as she described that he absolutely honored the work he was doing. the actress explained how many actors come into the business because they want to be famous. However, she shared that Chadwick entered the business because he wanted to be an artist.
Viola said, “He absolutely honored the work. And a lot of people went into this business because they wanted to be famous actors. They don’t want to be actors; they want to be famous actors. He entered it because he just wanted to be an artist.”
“The approach to that is the approach that every actor has to have to it.”
This little tribute might just seem words but coming from her, it is the highest praise. The actress herself is an artist as she transformed herself physically to tackle her Ma Rainey role. Before Viola’s kind words about Chadwick, her husband, Julius Tennon appreciated his wife’s physical dedication to the role.
“It was really the teeth,” he recalled. “The choice of putting the gold teeth in and it was amazing, and it completed the transformation.” Viola herself acknowledged that accurately portraying Ma Rainey was important to her. the actress explained that the approach to that is the approach every actor has to have. She added that one has to honor the person.
Viola said, “The approach to that is the approach that every actor has to have to it. You have to honor the person. They said she was a certain size, they said that she had a mouth full of gold, they said she looked a certain way, she had horsehair wigs. So, guess what? I had gold teeth, I had horsehair wigs and I was a certain size.”
The actress shared how she did not want to change her in any way because she never wanted to water down the portrayal of the legend.