‘The Color Purple’s Taraji P. Henson Talks About Resonating With Shug Avery Boldly Living Her Life Unapologetically


Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks discuss their roles in Blitz Bazawule’s The Color Purple

Have you seen The Color Purple yet?

The reimagining of the Alice Walker novel, based on the successful Broadway play, is in theaters and is currently the talk of social media.

The film topped the holiday box office, bringing in $18.15 million, doing better than expected and helping Warner Bros. dominate the weekend, along with Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

Ahead of the film’s release, CassiusLife’s Men’s Lifestyle and Pop Culture writer Bernard “Beanz” Smalls sat down with two of the film’s premiere stars, Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks, to talk about their roles in the powerful movie that has everyone talking.

Danielle Brooks Reveals The Pressure Was On While Filming Cause Oprah Winfrey Was Watching

The Color Purple

Source: Eli Ade / The Color Purple

For Danielle Brooks, this isn’t her first go-around with The Color Purple. Brooks played the character of Sofia in the 2015 Broadway revival before taking on the role on the big screen.

Despite her experience with the role, Brooks told CassiusLife that the transition wasn’t easy due to so many well-known eyeballs being on her during filming—one set of eyes belonging to an original cast member and now producer, Oprah Winfrey.

“I wouldn’t say easy transition because there’s a lot more eyeballs on me now, and some of these eyeballs are very well-known, which is Miss Oprah Winfrey,” Brooks told CassiusLife.

Having her [Oprah Winfrey] on set every day was definitely not riding a bike, but I think I got my flow, and I went down that hill…

She continues, “So it’s one thing to do the theater thing, which is where I live. You can’t tell me nothing about that. But when it comes to the film side, this is still my first major studio film, and so having her [Oprah Winfrey] on set every day was definitely not riding a bike, but I think I got my flow, and I went down that hill okay.”

Taraji P. Henson Resonate With Shug Avery Living Because Lived Life Unapologetically

The Color Purple

Source: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures / The Color Purple

Unlike Brooks, this will be Taraji P. Henson’s first time being involved with The Color Purple, but based on her performance as the electric Shug Avery, you would have thought this character was made just for her.

When speaking about what resonated with her regarding Shug Avery’s personality, Henson pointed to the character living life unapologetically and even called her a 1920s version of her iconic character Cookie Lyons from the hit FOX show Empire.

“Just her ability to boldly live her life unapologetically. She was the Cookie of the 1920s,” Henson begins. “She’s the one that got out of her zip code, saw the world, and came back and was able to change the people that she was around.”

You think she’s letting you in because she’s performing, but that’s the facade…

She continues, “So, yeah, that’s the one thing I tapped into her. I tapped more into her tenderness because that big personality is a defense mechanism, and it’s a coping mechanism to cover up something that she doesn’t let most people in. You think she’s letting you in because she’s performing, but that’s the facade. There is something deeper within her that she finds with this relationship with Celie.”


You see the entire interview with Brooks and Henson above.

The Color Purple is in theaters now and stars Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Fantasia, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., and more.