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Oprah Unveils Star-Studded Cast For 'The Color Purple' Musical Film

The musical rendition of the iconic film is getting an iconic cast of talent to match.

Culture & Entertainment

The classic and beloved 1985 film The Color Purple is coming back with a fresh cast and a fresh twist that features some of our favorite actors. The upcoming film will be adapted from the Tony award-winning Broadway musical, so expect to see some singing, dancing as well as some good ol’ acting. The final cast was revealed today and it stars Fantasia Taylor, Colman Domingo, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Halle Bailey, Corey Hawkins, and H.E.R.


Fantasia and Danielle both starred in the musical at different times, Fantasia in 2007 and Danielle in 2016, and are reprising their roles with Fantasia as Celie and Danielle as Sofia. The Color Purple film and musical all derived from the 1982 novel by Alice Walker with the same name. The book focuses on Black women in the rural and racist south dealing with traumas that were forced upon them by the men in their lives and society.

Oprah, who is co-producing the film with Scott Sanders, spoke with Vanity Fairabout casting Fantasia in the iconic role that Whoopi Goldberg played. “There is a rawness and a vulnerability to Fantasia,” Oprah said.

“We all know she can sing, and she has to take on the song 'I’m Here,' which is the anthem for women’s empowerment. I think there’s no better time than this moment for it. It is an international battle cry for triumphing over adversity and empowering oneself and finding home within one’s self and one’s family. I think we’re gonna see a side of Fantasia that no one ever imagined.”

The “Free Yourself” singer shared a video on Instagram about the moment she found out she won the part of Celie. She captioned the video,

“As I sit tonight and reflect on the journey my life has taken I believe I now understand what Redemption truly feels like,” she wrote. “The last time I stepped into this character, the similarities between what I portrayed on stage and what I experienced in my own reality were too close for comfort. I’ve learned since then that my pain was only an introduction to a greater purpose of meaning and assignment.”

“I hope that every little black girl who is fighting to be heard and recognized also promises to never give up in spite of the costs. Now everyone who has been wondering why I’ve been missing and so quiet can see that I’ve been dedicating all of my time to All Things Purple! (Matthew 20:16)”

Oprah surprised Danielle, who played Oprah’s character Sofia in the musical that earned her a Tony nomination in 2016 and Oprah an Oscar nomination in 1985, with the news that she will be reprising the role in the film. "I am here representing all things purple to tell you that you are our Sofia," said Oprah in the clip, which made Danielle burst into tears.

Reflecting on that moment with Vanity Fair, Oprah said, “You know, I didn’t think it was going to be emotional for me, but it ended up being emotional for me too! She so wanted it. I was listening to her when we had Blitz’s assistant on, who was apologizing, saying, 'So sorry that you have to do yet another audition, but something was wrong with the previous tape.' And then she goes, 'I would audition as many times as I needed to because this means that much to me.' And then I popped up: 'Sofia, SO-FEEE-AAHHH!'”

Rounding out the cast, Colman will play Mister, Taraji will play Shug Avery, Halle will play Nettie, Corey will play Harpo and H.E.R. will play Squeak.

Featured image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Before Tracee Ellis Ross was the adored Rainbow on black-ish, she was the quirky and stylish Joan Clayton on Girlfriends that so many of us loved. Girlfriends was a sitcom that showcased four friends living in L.A. and navigating dating and friendships. The series which premiered in the fall of 2000 has had a lasting impact on the Black community thanks to its relatable characters and notable one-liners. After eight seasons, however, the beloved series ended abruptly with no explanation and no closure for fans.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

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TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

In early 2022, the world felt like it slowed down a bit as people digested the shocking news of beauty pageant queen Cheslie Kryst, who died by suicide. When you scroll through her Instagram, the photos she had posted only weeks before her death were images of her smiling, looking happy, and being carefree. You can see photos of her working, being in front of the camera, and doing what I imagine was her norm. These pictures and videos, however, began to spark a conversation among Black women who knew too well that feeling like you're carrying the world on your shoulders and forcing yourself to smile through it all to hide the pain.

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Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.

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