Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks Forge a Profound Connection in ‘The Color Purple’ Movie

In a captivating revelation, Danielle Brooks, known for her role as the defiant Sofia in the 2015 revival of ‘The Color Purple,’ reunites with Cynthia Erivo as Celie, now in the cinematic adaptation directed by filmmaker Blitz Bazawule. The star-studded cast includes Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, and Corey Hawkins, with the iconic Oprah Winfrey producing, who herself earned an Oscar nomination for her role as Sofia in the 1985 film version by Steven Spielberg. Barrino and Brooks share with Baz Bamigboye the intricate journey that led them to their roles and the profound impact it had on their lives.

Danielle Brooks Opens Up

For Danielle Brooks, portraying Sofia meant delving into ancestral connections and conducting what she refers to as “blood work” – a spiritual endeavor. Brooks immersed herself in the stories of Black women from the past, embracing the essence of survival rather than perpetuating stereotypes. Fannie Lou Hamer and Eliza Woods became her muses, guiding her to embody the strength of women striving to break generational curses. Brooks also draws inspiration from Alice Walker’s words in “The Color Purple,” carrying the book with her to absorb the wisdom embedded in Sofia’s character.

Fantasia Barrino’s Deep Dive

Fantasia Barrino, having lived with the character Celie, drew from personal experiences and familial ties. In a poignant revelation, she shares her decision to halt therapy, using Celie as a form of healing. Barrino’s portrayal of Celie became a journey into her own past, reconnecting with her grandmother and exploring suppressed emotions surrounding her mother’s struggles. This time, playing Celie became a therapeutic process, marking a significant point in her personal healing.

A Cultural Thread

Both artists acknowledge the profound connection to West African heritage, recognizing the inner strength shared by the women of West Africa. Danielle Brooks emphasizes the universal theme of trauma, hoping that people of all backgrounds can see themselves in the narratives of Sofia and Celie. The exploration of African roots becomes a unifying factor, transcending borders and connecting individuals on a human level.

Rediscovering Ancestry

Danielle Brooks, having recently delved into her ancestry through Henry Louis Gates, excitedly reveals her Nigerian roots. Fantasia Barrino, with a Sicilian and biracial heritage, emphasizes the importance of knowing one’s true identity. Both artists express a commitment to understanding and preserving their diverse cultural backgrounds.

Lessons from Small Southern Towns

The duo reflects on the humility and strength instilled by growing up in small Southern towns. Fantasia Barrino cherishes the authenticity of her roots, vowing not to lose herself in an industry that often challenges authenticity. Danielle Brooks echoes the sentiment, crediting her community for instilling values of humbleness, faith, and service.


As Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks embark on this cinematic journey with ‘The Color Purple,’ their personal stories intertwine with the characters they portray. Beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, these artists remain grounded, drawing strength from their roots and cultural diversity. Their portrayal of Sofia and Celie becomes not just a performance but a celebration of resilience, heritage, and the universal human experience.

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