Although Alicia Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Colour Purple has already been adapted multiple times (most notably by Steven Spielberg), a brand new musical edition is already in the works. The book attempts to chronicle the pernicious machinations of an oppressive system by telling the story of a young Black girl in early 20th century America.
The new version will be helmed by Blitz Bazawule who has already worked on acclaimed projects like the 2020 musical Black is King, in collaboration with and under the supervision of none other than the American music icon Beyoncé. Black is King picked up several highly coveted accolades, including a Grammy Award as well as an Emmy.
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.’”
Many big names have already been attached to the project like Corey Hawkins but the stellar casting just keeps growing in stature. Singer and songwriter H.E.R. will make her acting debut in the new musical The Colour Purple and is also working on an original song for the project. Warner Bros. have scheduled a potential release date of December 2023.
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?’”.
Adding: “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.”
See the original trailer, below.