The Color Purple, Taraji P Henson, Fantasia, H.E.R., Danielle Brooks, Oprah

‘The Color Purple’ Actresses Pay Homage To Original Movie Cast

The cast of The Color Purple movie musical remake is celebrating the women from the original 1985 Oscar-nominated film.

Fantasia, Oprah Winfrey, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson, and H.E.R. all appear on the cover of Essence magazine’s November/December 2023 holiday issue, where they speak candidly about the legacy of The Color Purple and themes of sisterhood from the original film and remake.

Essence unveiled the cover shot by Mickalene Thomas in a celebratory Instagram post shared on Tuesday, October 17. The magazine noted the interview was conducted in May before the start of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.

“This is what it looks like when you put sisterhood, talent, and joy in one room!” they captioned the post.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by ESSENCE (@essence)

During the shoot, things got real when Oprah, who starred as Sofia in the original and executive produced the musical remake, asked the ladies, “What would you say to the women who played your characters in the original 1985 cast of The Color Purple?”

“I would say thank you, Ms. Whoopi Goldberg, for not being afraid to play Celie. For being honest,” Fantasia said. “Thank you for paving the way for girls like myself.”

Taraji followed up with her personal message to Margaret Avery who played Shug Avery in the 1985 original.

“I would say to Margaret Avery: You taught me how to be sexy and how to see myself as a fully realized sexy woman,” Henson said.

“This industry can do a job on you and give you some insecurities. And when I found Ms. Shug Avery, she just made me feel like a woman. I was the one who always covered up. I didn’t feel right in my body. So to see this beautiful Black woman on the screen made me feel seen.”

H.E.R. shared her ode to Rae Dawn Chong, the Canadian-American actress who introduced the role of Squeak in the original film.

“Ms. Rae Dawn Chong, thank you for giving me an opportunity to show myself,” H.E.R. said.

“A lot of people know me and my music, but they don’t really know me. They’re getting to see me: Who I am, having fun and feeling empowered.”

Danielle Brooks, who received a 2017 Tony Award nomination for her performance of Sofia, had the pleasure of celebrating her predecessor in person.

“I just want to thank you, Ms. Oprah, for surrendering to God and his plan for your life,” Brooks said. “You have shown me how to do that.”

She continued. “Thank you for laying the blueprint for Sofia—because I know that she’s changed your life, and I can feel that mine is about to shift, too. Thank you for leaving space for me but also being there, to hold my hand and answer that phone call when I needed you. You have been such a light, such a beautiful soul.”

The Color Purple remake of the Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical hits theaters Christmas Day.

RELATED CONTENT: ‘Give Ms. Barrino Her Oscar Now!’ Fans React to ‘The Color Purple’ Trailer Release