Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks on ‘The Color Purple’ 

The actresses opened up about how they made their iconic characters in the beloved book, musical and film their very own in its latest on-screen iteration. 

(From left) Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks attend a Black Excellence Brunch and Warner Bros. celebration for "The Color Purple" on Dec. 3 in Hollywood. (Photo: Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

It’s almost time for “The Color Purple” to open in theaters nationwide, and when it does, the world will see what the fuss is all about. 

This new iteration of the beloved book, musical and film doesn’t have just one star, but several leading ladies, women who poured everything into the roles they portrayed. 

Taraji P. Henson is quite convincing as Shug Avery, showcasing some singing skills and a few moves we’ve never seen from her before. Fantasia Barrino captures the core of Celie so exquisitely through her raw portrayal of a deeply wounded woman on the path to self-discovery. Danielle Brooks is a triumph as Sofia, a character that has been ingrained in our culture for so long, yet somehow feels brand new and tailor-made for the actress. 

“The Color Purple” stars (from left) Taraji P. Henson, Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks attend a Black Excellence Brunch and Warner Bros. celebration for the film on Dec. 3 in Hollywood. (Photo: Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

When asked what went into crafting their own, unique versions of these well-known roles, Henson credits each one’s personal struggles and experiences for informing their approach. 

“Our backgrounds, our issues that we had to work out in our lives,” she explains. “The things that we’ve gone through in our lives that brought us here as women, as artists, and is uniquely different from anybody else, from anybody else who’s ever portrayed any of these characters because they’ve had their own cross to bear and their own issues.”

“They brought their little pain that bleeds through their characters that looks different than all of ours, you know,” Henson added. “So I think that’s what it was, you know — just bringing our essence to these characters.”

All of the ladies took time to credit the film’s director, Blitz Bazaluwe, for leading the charge on this creative endeavor.

“God giving Blitz the vision because he handpicked us all,” says Barrino. “I always tell him if I could be a fly on the wall, or get in your mind, a penny for your thoughts, because he handpicked us perfectly.”


She already garnered praise for portraying Celie on Broadway, but now that Barrino’s taken that performance to the silver screen, she’s hoping a new generation of women will be inspired by the story. 

“I think they’ll stop overlooking things that they’ve been overlooking or feeling, or stop feeling like That’s not good enough. Not pretty enough. I think they’re going to stop that. That’s my hope,” Barrino says. 

“They’ll look in the mirror, and they’ll say, like, ‘I don’t have to worry about what the Instagram is telling me and what I’m seeing in Hollywood all the time,'” she offers. “‘I don’t have to be lighter. My hair doesn’t have to be… I can be like whoever I want to be, however I want to be. And it looks good. I can also fall, get back up.’”

For Brooks, who has already nabbed a Golden Globe Award nomination for best supporting actress, dazzling critics in her second acclaimed turn as Sofia, the film’s message to women is clear, she declares: “Be the hero of your own story.”

“The Color Purple” hits theaters Christmas Day.

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