Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Purple: The World's Most Perfect Color

I'm not sure what my mother was playing at when she shoved Alice Walker's The Color Purple, into my hands as a child, but I thank her for doing so. Published in 1982, The Color Purple tells the story of Celie, a Black woman in the South. Celie writes letters to God in which she tells about her life, her roles as daughter, wife, sister, and mother. In the course of her story, Celie meets a series of other Black women who shape her life. Nettie, Celie's sister, who becomes a missionary teacher in Africa; Shug Avery, the Blues singer her husband Mr. ______ is in love with, and who becomes Celie's salvation; Sofia, the strong-willed daughter-in-law whose strength and courage inspire Celie; and Squeak, who goes through awakenings of her own. Throughout the story, though, Celie is the center of this community of women, the one who knows how to survive.

There are so many aspectss of this novels that forces a person to reach deep in their soul and expunge the hatred that resides in them. Just the reason why Mr.______ is never called by his last name is a dissertation all in itself.

This incredible story was immortalized on the silver screen with the talents of Whoopi Goldberg (Celie), Danny Glover (Mr. ______) and Oprah Winfrey (Sofia) in 1984. All the emotions and feelings that poured out of me as a young boyafter I finished this short novel were expounded upon when I saw the story through the eyes of its director, Steven Spielberg (a native of Cincinnati).

Hands down, that has become one of my favorite movies of all time.

Needless to say, my heart broke and, at the same time, skipped a beat when I found out a few months ago that Ms. Winfrey had taken The Color Purple to Broadway. My heart broke because I know that it will not be easy for the show to come to Cincinnati, so chances are, I will not be able to witness the show in person. My wanting to see this show tripled when it was nominated for 11 2006 Tony awards (LaChanze winning for best Actress).

Well, maybe I'll be happy with the soundtrack.

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