Danielle Brooks on ‘The Color Purple,’ reprising Sofia: ‘I hope that everyone can see themselves in this movie’

TheGrio caught up with Brooks over the weekend at American Black Film Festival, where audience members caught a 10-minute first look at the upcoming film.

Danielle Brooks is ready for you to see the new “The Color Purple.” The Tony-nominated actress caught up with theGrio at American Black Film Festival, where festivalgoers got a 10-minute sneak peek at the highly anticipated adaptation of the classic Alice Walker novel and Broadway musical.

This weekend marked Brooks’ first time at ABFF. She felt the excitement in the air while at the festival in Miami, she told us, not only from festivalgoers waiting for the first look at the film, but also from reuniting with her friends in the industry like Teyonah Parris, who was also in attendance. (Parris starred in the opening night film, Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone.”)

“To be surrounded by artists that look like me but also get to support people I know is really great,” she explained to theGrio’s Jared Alexander.

Speaking of “The Color Purple” sneak peek, she continued, “To have a classic like this here is everything you would want it to be. You feel the love, you feel the excitement, especially for a film that doesn’t come out until Christmas!”

2023 American Black Film Festival - "The Color Purple" Screening
Danielle Brooks speaks on the panel at “The Color Purple” screening during the American Black Film Festival at New World Center on June 17, 2023, in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Ivan Apfel/Getty Images)

For Brooks, her connection to “The Color Purple” is storied and multi-layered. The original Broadway production of the musical was the first Broadway show Brooks ever saw when she was 15 years old. “I remember sitting there crying my eyeballs out,” she recalled. “I had come to the realization this is what I have to do, this is my purpose.”

Ten years later, after “a lot of nos,” Brooks starred in her first Broadway show, the critically acclaimed revival of “The Color Purple” as Sofia. “I auditioned for a lot of Broadway shows, and God said, “No,” and now I understand that was him saying, ‘Your first Broadway show needs to be ‘The Color Purple.’’”

Brooks starred in the show for a year, earning a Tony nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical. Now, roughly seven years later, Brooks once again returns to Sofia, now as an older artist and “different person” she told us.

“Meeting this role now as an older artist, having stepped into it the first time, I am truly a different person. I’m married now, I have a daughter that’s 3 years old, I’ve been through some pain and some trauma and had to learn how to pick myself back up,” she said, before quipping, “and how to do it a little differently than Sofia.”

“I had to learn how to do it with grace and love when I wanted to handle it how she did,” she added. “There is a part of it that is a lot of fun to play. I get to say, “Hell no,” and I get to learn how to not accept things that I normally might as Danielle and I get to learn how to not accept things that I normally might as Danielle.”

She added, “I hope that everyone can see themselves in this movie and figure out how to move through whatever they’re going through.”

“The Color Purple” hits theaters Christmas Day.

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