Alicia Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Colour Purple is regularly voted as one of the “best-loved novels” of its time. The source material has had multiple adaptations, including the 1985 film version directed by Steven Spielberg as well as a 2005 musical. It follows the story of a young Black girl who exits in a system which only works to oppress her.
A brand new musical is already in the works, with big names like Corey Hawkins attached to the project. This edition will be directed by Blitz Bazawule, the director of the 2020 musical Black Is King. That project was a beautiful commentary on the search for self-identity in the context of the African diaspora.
In an interview, Bazawule said: “You should understand why. Films that are made on the [African] continent are often made as co-productions with European companies. When it comes to the festival circuit, [the European companies] already paid for play.”
Adding, “A lot of what’s going on in that film is upending. We also have to recognise the world we’re in. Most images in this project were about how you take symbols and turn them on their head. Some of them are in clear opposition and some of them are subtle: ‘Let’s flip this thing and see what that looks like.'”
Bazawule also commented on the responsibility of the modern artist, claiming that art should have the power to move us and make us question things: “I feel like that’s what good art is supposed to do. It’s supposed to have us all step back and be like: ‘What the hell did I just watch? How can I form my interpretation of this?’
“For the artist, you’ll be leaning a certain way. But the art is saying something else. It’s not always in conflict. It’s just what good art does, because it has different entry points. We are not monolithic people. We all have different entry points… We’re so early in the canon of creating Black imaginative cinema.”