His works delve into the African-American experience as well as examinations of the human condition. Other themes range from the systemic and historical exploitation of African Americans, as well as race relations, identity, migration, and racial discrimination. His work has drawn several iconic performances onstage from James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, L. Scott Caldwell and Samuel L. Jackson. Davis said of Wilson's writing, "He captures our humor, our vulnerabilities, our tragedies, our trauma. And he humanizes us. And he allows us to talk." Since Wilson's death two of his plays have been adapted into films: ''Fences'' (2016) and ''Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'' (2020). Denzel Washington has shepherded the films and has vowed to continue his legacy by adapting the rest of his plays into films for a wider audience by saying, "The greatest part of what’s left of my career is making sure that August is taken care of".