‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Racial Trauma’ is an immersive Seminar on racialised trauma, and its research and application, featuring a screening of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’, presented by HS Consultancy, in conjunction with The Visionary Arts Foundation.
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ is a George C. Wolfe film adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 play, starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Described as a reclamation of Black music and culture, the film presents a fictional account of a day in the life of the early 20th century blues singer Ma Rainey, who helped to pioneer a genre whilst speaking candidly about Black life in America whilst challenging heteronormative ideas.
The film shows the struggles of Black musicians, and the exploitation of Black culture in the record industry where many White owned labels would profit off the music of Black artists who were paid less by their White counterparts.
It is a sophisticated portrayal of racial trauma caused by all forms of racism whether it be violent, systematic or unconscious bias and shows the after-effects including frustrations towards the perpetrators, internalisation of pain and sometimes violence.
The narrative is also comparable to the experiences of people within the UK for whom the impact of racial trauma has been trivialised and social inequalities often attributed to factors other than racism or racism in an abstracted way.
The seminar is led by Hári Sewell an academic, lecturer, trainer, author and system change professional on race and mental health for over three decades, who will use content from the film as a reference alongside theories and research on the nature and consequences of racial trauma.
Also featuring a discussion with Guilaine Kinouani, director and founder of Race Reflections, author of Living While Black: The essential guide to overcoming Racial Trauma & psychologist and clinician working with issues of equality and justice, followed by a Q&A session.
The event takes place at Curzon Victoria on 14th July 2022 between 5:30-9:30pm and tickets can be purchased here.