A Jazzman’s Blues follows the story of a forbidden romance in the 1930’s and 40’s in which a black boy falls in love with a light skinned girl. The Tyler Perry movie is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains severe spoilers
In the town of Hopewell, Georgia, in 1987, an elderly woman bursts into the office of a mayoral candidate to deliver him a series of letters to help him solve a murder that took place 40 years earlier.
The disgruntled contestant wants to keep her away, but the name Leanne Harper on it urges him to read.
Covering events from the 1930s and 1940s, the letters tell the story of a black boy named Bayou who lives with his talented mother, Hattie Mae, who sings to herself and does laundry to earn a living.
Bayou was adored by his mother and, like her, was endowed with a beautiful voice. Despite having this talent, he was despised by his stepfather, Buster, and half-brother, Willie Earl, who considered him sensitive and slow.
Bayou always thought nobody loved him like his mother did until he met Leanne, a fair-skinned neighborhood girl. Leanne recognized Bayou’s talent and they eventually became dear.
Every night, Leanne would sneak out of her house to meet Bayou by sending him a paper airplane to his house while he was trying to sleep.
The couple grew up close to the point where they started developing feelings for each other.
While Buster and Willie Earl, in a fit of rage, left to pursue careers in Chicago, Bayou Leanne asked for the marriage. When her mother found out about it, she took her daughter to Boston.
After Leanne disappeared from his life, Bayou joined the army and returned after being injured.
Bayou continued to write letters to anyone in Boston who bore her name in hopes that one of his letters would reach her, but Leanne’s mother would not let her.
Hattie Mae and her friend Citsy moved to Hopewell County. They formed a juke joint, which did well. Bayou decided to join his mother and helped her with the housework.
Aside from the music bar, Hattie Mae continues to do laundry.
While running one of the errands for her, Bayou again crossed paths with Leanne, who would soon be marrying Sheriff Jackson’s brother John, a mayoral candidate at the time.
The pair eventually rekindled their romance, and Leanne’s mother took note. She made false claims to John and Sheriff Jackson that Bayou whistled on Leanne.
Hattie Mae was forced to send Bayou to Chicago with Willie Earl and his friend Ira, who was to give Earl an appearance at the Capitol Royale.
While Bayou overshadowed his brother in Chicago, Leanne kept busy with her family. Leanne’s husband became the mayor of the city and she gave birth to a baby boy who is actually Bayou’s son.
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Why did Bayou return to Hopewell County?
After singing at the Capitol Royale, Bayou became a huge star. He played sold out shows every night. Ira even got him to record a record called Paper Airplane, which found its place on radio.
In the midst of all this, Bayou kept sending letters to his mother, Hattie Mae. He also sent money, but the messenger stole everything.
During one of his shows, Bayou’s cousin Leroy visited him and told him what was wrong with his mother.
No one had appeared at Hattie Mae’s music bar since the whistling incident. She now survives by planting a garden for herself.
After Bayou found out about his mother’s condition, he was dying to see her, but there was more to it than that. Ira saw through him when he turned down the offer to bring her mother to Chicago.
He knew Bayou wanted to see Leanne, so Ira finally accepted Bayou’s suggestion that they do a show at Hattie Mae’s juke joint for a night.
Why was Willie Earl fired?
While his brother was becoming a star, Willie Earl missed every opportunity he got. He turned to drugs and spent his entire salary injecting himself.
There were times when Bayou tried to put him in the spotlight, but people from all over the world came to see Bayou, not his brother. Tensions escalated one night when Bayou found his brother’s hideout.
The confrontation turned into a fight, with Ira intervening to separate them.
Mr. Carney was fed up with Willie Earl’s drama, so he fired him. While Bayou clarified that those drugs were the reason Willie Earl was fired, Earl accused his brother of stealing the spotlight from him.
Was Willie Earl behind Bayou’s death?
Bayou, Willie Earl, Ira and Bayou’s Band traveled to Hopewell County to perform at Hattie Mae’s Juke Joint. The band began to build up their instruments and Bayou began his plan to run away with Leanne and her baby.
Bayou opened the show and began singing along with his mother.
For his part, Willie Earl went to Sheriff Jackson and told him that the boy who had whistled on his brother’s wife had returned.
When Willie Earl’s performance came, Bayou walked to the bus where he promised Leanne they would meet. Ira asked Bayou to take bodyguards with him, but he resisted.
The couple reunited but were pursued by Sheriff Jackson and Leanne’s husband, who were leading a group of white men. They captured Bayou and soon gunfire was heard.
Everyone from the joint followed the noise and found Bayou dead hanging from a tree.
Is the mayoral candidate Bayou and Leanne’s son?
Mr. Jonathan, the mayoral candidate who had read all these letters, rushed back to his house. He looked at the photos from his birth and found that his mother was listening to Bayou’s song “Paper Airplanes,” which he wrote about Leanne.
One of the maids addressed Jonathan’s mother as “Miss Leanne” and told her that her son was here.
Jonathan gave her the letters Bayou had written her years before, which never reached her. While she collapsed and stared at her, Jonathan sat outside and mulled over those events.
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