A Jazzman’s Blues follows the story of a forbidden romance set in the 1930s and ’40s, where a black boy falls in love with a light-skinned girl. The Tyler Perry film is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
In the city of Hopewell, Georgia, in the year 1987, an elderly woman barges into the office of a mayoral candidate to deliver a passel of letters that will help him solve a murder that took place 40 years ago.
The annoyed candidate plans to keep them away, but the name of Leanne Harper on them urges him to read.
The letters entail events from the 1930s and ’40s, telling the story of a black boy named Bayou, living with his talented mother, Hattie Mae, who sings for herself and does laundry to earn a living.
Bayou was adored by his mother and was gifted with a beautiful voice like her. Despite bearing that talent, he was despised by his stepfather, Buster, and his half-brother, Willie Earl, who believed he was sensitive and slow.
Bayou always thought no one loved him like his mother did until he met Leanne, a light-skinned girl from the neighborhood. Leanne acknowledged Bayou’s talent, and they eventually grew fond of each other.
Every night, Leanne would sneak out of her house to meet Bayou by sending him a paper aeroplane into his house while he was trying to sleep.
The couple grew close to the point where they started having feelings for each other.
While Buster and Willie Earl left in a fit of rage to pursue a career in Chicago, Bayou asked Leanne for marriage. The moment her mother found out, she took her daughter away to Boston.
With Leanne out of his life, Bayou joined the army and came back after getting injured.
Bayou kept writing letters to every person carrying her name in Boston, hoping one of his letters would reach her, but Leanne’s mother didn’t let that happen.
Hattie Mae and her friend Citsy moved to Hopewell County. They started a juke joint that was doing well. Bayou decided to join his mother, and helped her with chores.
Apart from the juke joint, Hattie Mae also continued doing laundry.
While running one of the errands for her, Bayou crossed paths with Leanne again, who was soon going to marry Sheriff Jackson’s brother John, a mayoral candidate at that time.
The couple eventually rekindled their romance, and Leanne’s mother took note of it. She made false claims to John and Sheriff Jackson that Bayou whistled at Leanne.
Hattie Mae was forced to send Bayou to Chicago with Willie Earl and his friend Ira, who was going to give Earl a gig at Capitol Royale.
While Bayou overshadowed his brother in Chicago, Leanne got busy with her family. Leanne’s husband became the mayor of the town, and she gave birth to a baby boy, who is actually Bayou’s son.
A Jazzman’s Blues ending explained in detail:
Why did Bayou return to Hopewell County?
After singing at Capitol Royale, Bayou became a huge star. He did sold-out shows every night. Ira even got him to make a record called “Paper Airplane,” which found its place on the radio.
Amidst all of this, Bayou kept sending letters to his mother, Hattie Mae. He also sent money, but the delivery man stole all of it.
During one of his shows, Bayou’s cousin Leroy paid him a visit and gave him a rundown on what was going on with his mother.
Since the whistling incident, no one had shown up at Hattie Mae’s juke joint. She now survives by growing a garden for herself.
After learning of his mother’s condition, Bayou desperately wanted to see her, but there was more to it. Ira saw through him when he rejected the offer to bring her mother to Chicago.
He knew that Bayou wanted to see Leanne, so Ira ended up accepting Bayou’s suggestion to do a show at Hattie Mae’s juke joint for one night.
Why did Willie Earl get fired?
While his brother became a star, Willie Earl lost every opportunity he got. He turned to drugs and spent all of his pay on injecting himself.
There were times Bayou tried to give him 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 stash.
The confrontation turned into a fight, with Ira interfering to break them up.
Mr. Carney had enough of Willie Earl’s drama, so he fired him. While Bayou made it clear that those drugs were the reason Willie Earl got fired, the latter blamed his brother for stealing his spotlight.
Is Willie Earl behind Bayou’s death?
Bayou, Willie Earl, Ira, and Bayou’s band left for Hopewell County, to perform at Hattie Mae’s juke joint. The band started setting up their instruments and Bayou began his plan to run away with Leanne and their baby.
Bayou opened the show and started singing along with his mother.
Willie Earl, on his side, went out to meet Sheriff Jackson and told him that the boy who whistled at his brother’s wife had returned.
When Willie Earl’s performance came, Bayou went to the bus, where he promised Leanne that they would meet. Ira asked Bayou to take bodyguards with him, but he resisted.
The couple reunited but were followed by Sheriff Jackson and Leanne’s husband, who were leading a group of white men. They captured Bayou, and soon gunshots were heard.
Everyone from the joint followed the sound and found Bayou dead, hanging from a tree.
Is the mayoral candidate Bayou and Leanne’s son?
Mr. Jonathan, the mayoral candidate, who read all these letters, rushed back to his house. He took a look at the photos from his birth and found his mother 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 is here.
Jonathan gave her the letters Bayou wrote to her years ago, which never reached her. While she broke down staring at them, Jonathan sat outside, giving these events a second thought.