The Color Purple, Broadway, LaChanze

‘I’m Here’ Lyric Dispute Hits Sour Note: ‘The Color Purple’ Actress LaChanze Demands Song Credit

"The Color Purple" broadway actress wants her royalty fee for the lyrics she contributed to the song 'I'm Here.'

Tony Award-winner LaChanze, renowned for her lead role as Celie in the 2005 Broadway production of The Color Purple, recently aired claims about her absence from the creative credits for the show’s beloved song “I’m Here.”

In a Dec. 26 tweet, the Broadway star claimed she had not received deserved compensation as a lyricist on the dynamic ballad that has become emblematic of Celie’s role. As LaChanze expressed: “I am getting a lot of DM’s and posts about why I’ve been left out of the press as the original Celie…I am thrilled for the movie’s success! Happy for all involved. However, I do want my royalty fee for the lyrics I added to ‘I’M HERE.’”

The actress feels her intimate involvement with the musical merits acknowledgment publicly and financially.

Though not specifying her exact lyrical contributions, the seasoned actress emphasized the depths of her creative efforts in originating and shaping the defiant character in the 2005 stage production. “I poured my heart and soul into that role. And was a huge part at writing ‘I’m Here,’” LaChanze responded to a fan in a separate tweet.

According to Spotify, LaChanze’s name is indeed absent from the official songwriting credits for “I’m Here,” which include Allee Willis, Brenda Russell, and Stephen Bray.

The song has gained new resonance in the recently released musical film adaptation, where Celie’s role is played by Grammy Award-winning singer Fantasia Barrino, who is listed as the artist on the 2023 track. Bray is credited as a producer along with Kris Bowers and Nick Baxter.

As previously covered by BLACK ENTERPRISE, The Color Purple earned $18 million in ticket sales on Christmas Day. The film ranked in the No. 2 spot for the biggest Christmas Day openings “of all time.” The film raked in higher box office earnings during its opening weekend than other recently adapted Broadway-to-screen musicals.

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