Oprah Winfrey, who earned an Oscar nomination for 1985’s adaptation Alice Walker‘s 1982 novel The Color Purple, and who produces the forthcoming big screen musical version, can’t sing enough praises of its lead, singer Fantasia Barrino.
Oprah took part in a virtual promotional event with director Blitz Bazawule on Tuesday, and gave the former American Idol winner her flowers, saying she was “so deeply moved” by Fantasia, as quoted by the New York Daily News.
Fantasia plays the adult version of Celie in the Warner Bros. film, and both she and the character share a childhood marred by physical and sexual abuse — as does Winfrey herself.
“She said this movie changed her because it allowed her to forgive,” Oprah explained of Barrino.
“She said … ‘People coming to this movie will be healed…because I was healed…I came from no education. I came from sexual assault as a young girl. I came from domestic abuse and I learned through this movie that not only could I heal, but I could forgive.'”
Winfrey expresses, “So when [Fantasia] sings that anthem, ‘I’m Still Here,’ she is speaking to everybody who’s been told no, everybody who’s been turned down, everybody who’s been turned back, everybody who’s been allowed to believe that they couldn’t make it and then they did.”
The talk show icon gushed about director Bazawule’s film, enthusing, “I could just cry thinking about what [Bazawule] has done with this new iteration,” calling it “a revival of joy.”
The Color Purple also stars Little Mermaid lead Halle Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, Colman Domingo, H.E.R., and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor.
The film opens in theaters Christmas Day.
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