As Black Ballad celebrates a decade of existence, I’ve naturally become reflective of the journey. The highs, lows, the things that kept me going and the things that inspired me to start. I feel like there is a before and after when it comes to Black Ballad. For the OG members and readers, when we were a free blog we kept things simple with a black and white minimalist website. Then after our first crowdfund, we became a membership, switched the site up and incorporated purple into the design.
I remember when we were working on what the site would like for the membership, I was adamant that purple must be part of the membership site. I remember the team we were working with said: “why the colour purple?” I simply replied because of: “The Color Purple.”
Alice Walker’s novel is still my favourite book (and I don’t see that changing.) It was the book that ignited the spark and passion to tell Black women’s stories. Her words acted as a catalyst to understand the power of providing space for Black women to tell their truth on their own terms and I had never experienced that before. “The Color Purple” novel shows us the most intimate thoughts of a Black woman in letter form as it questions her faith and shows us how the resilience of being a Black woman brings a hope so unique to us because of how we have to navigate the world. And I don’t think there has ever been a piece of art that captures the deep bond that exists in Black female sisterhoods like “The Color Purple.”
So when I heard that the film would be reimagined as a musical, I always knew I was going to be first in line to see it when it arrives in cinemas on January 26th. Add in the fact that Taraji P. Henson would be the iconic Shug Avery, I knew that the film would surpass all expectations. And let me tell you, there is a scene when Taraji P. Henson makes an entrance in the most beautiful red beaded dress on a boat and it is nothing short of spellbinding.
This new take on Alice Walker’s classic text is more than just a musical. This film exudes joy, celebrates the beauty of Black women, dark skinned black women, while giving us stunning visuals and beautifully choreographed routines that creates the captivating cinema experience, while showing that in the midst of hardship, hope can abound.
Although this musical reincarnation is spectacular, what makes this version of “The Color Purple” special is just like the book, it shows off the restorative power that exists in Black sisterhoods. The chemistry between Taraji P. Henson, Sofia played by Danielle Brooks and Celie played by Fantasia Barrino, is a bond that as Black women we will all uniquely recognise. The film revels in showing how the relationships between Black women helps us embrace our vulnerability, find our strength and seize our independence- reminding me why purple is still the perfect colour to represent Black Ballad 10 years later and why this new film is a must see for Black women and anyone reading these words.