All Articles Tagged "the color purple"
Alice Walker, who turns 70 later this month, is thinking about her legacy.
Over the past few years, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author has donated her papers to Emory University, permitted “The Color Purple” to be released as an e-book and reached a deal with Simon & Schuster to publish excerpts from journals she has kept for decades. Walker also participated in the documentary “Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth,” scheduled to air Friday night on PBS stations as part of the “American Masters” series.
“I don’t have this feeling that 70 is really old,” says Walker, who notes one ancestor lived to 125. “But I do feel it’s helpful if you’re thinking about the coming generations to leave your work in a form that people can relate to.”
Interviewed recently by telephone, Walker said one reason she agreed to appear in the film is because the director, Pratibha Parmar, is a friend. Parmar, also interviewed recently, said she was inspired to make the documentary a few years ago after viewing DVDs of other “American Masters” projects.
“It seemed crazy not to have a film on Alice, given the impact she’s had with her life and her writing,” said Parmar, who in the 1990s worked with Walker on the film and book “Warrior Marks,” about female genital mutilation in Africa.
As “masters” go, Walker is hardly an austere, Olympian figure. A longtime feminist and political activist, she has been denounced for not allowing “The Color Purple” to be translated into Hebrew (in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians) and accused of demeaning black men in “The Color Purple,” but celebrated for fighting racism and sexism and writing candidly about abortion, incest and domestic violence.
Read more about Alice Walker at BlackVoices.com
Growing up, I spent most of my allowance on candy (don’t worry, this is going somewhere), so I didn’t buy too many many books as a young girl. But with my handy-dandy library card, both for school and the public library, I had the chance to read quite a few classic and lovably rachet books that have had a strong impact on my way of thinking ever since. Whether they were recommended by my classmates, read in class, or picked up after hearing about them in my favorite magazines, I found that I wasn’t the only one who read these novels and memoirs back in the day. Here are a few books every black girl read back in the day…at least once.
Coldest Winter Ever
I can remember toting that thick little book around with its bright colors, trying to find a sophisticated way to explain to my mother that it was about a girl who was the daughter of a drug dealer who is living life a little too fast. Folks end up in jail, disfigured, and in group homes through the rollercoaster ride that is The Coldest Winter Ever. As ratch as it was, Sister Souljah’s first real novel was one of the most entertaining books I’ve ever read.
If you adore Alice Walker and her riveting writing then you are in for a treat!
Over the years “The Color Purple” author kept a diary, filling the pages with poems, stories, and essays on everything from the details of childhood poverty to her rise to literary fame. And the Associated Press reports that Walker is gearing up to publish select writings from her journal in 2017, thanks to a deal with Simon & Schuster imprint 37.
The published project will be titled: “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire” and will be edited by Valerie Boyd who also wrote Zora Neale Hurston’s biography. The Huffington Post credits Hurston as one of Walker’s literary idols.
We’re excited to read the wisdom Walker will bless us with from her life’s journey — especially since she’s been writing in her diary for over half a century.
Will you check this book out in 2017?
In an op-ed piece for The Hollywood Reporter, director John Singleton spoke about the problem with black stories in Hollywood being told without the help of black folks behind the scenes, and particularly, black directors being an afterthought. In recent years, white directors have been bringing to life a lot of the big films that have done well at the box office, and while Singleton lauded the movies that got it right (Taylor Hackford directing Ray, Norman Jewison for The Hurricane, and recently, Brian Helgeland’s 42), he shared some inquisitive thoughts about the importance of black folks being the behind the scenes to authentically share the stories of our icons and our people in general. Here are some tidbits from the piece that definitely stood out:
Hollywood’s black film community has always had a one-for-all-and-all-for-one attitude, openly cheering the success of any black-driven movie in the hope its box-office success will translate into more jobs and stories about people of color. But, at the same time, the success of black-themed movies like The Help and this year’s 42 points to a troubling trend: the hiring of white filmmakers to tell black stories with few African-Americans involved in the creative process.
What if the commercial success of “black films” like 42 and The Help, which also had a white director, are now making it harder rather than easier for African-American writers and directors to find work?
That is exactly what people in certain Hollywood circles are debating. When I brought up the issue with a screenwriter friend, he replied, “It’s simple. Hollywood feels like it doesn’t need us anymore to tell African-American stories.” The thinking goes, “We voted for and gave money to Obama, so [we don't need to] hire any black people.”
…I could go on and on about the white directors who got it right and others who missed the mark. But my larger point is that there was a time, albeit very brief, when heroic black figures were the domain of black directors, and when a black director wasn’t hired, the people behind the film at least brought on a black producer for his or her creative input and perspective. Spielberg did that on The Color Purple(Quincy Jones) and Amistad (Debbie Allen). Tarantino had Reggie Hudlin on Django Unchained.
…But now, that’s changing; several black-themed movies are in development with only white filmmakers attached, including a James Brown biopic. That’s right, the story of “Soul Brother No. 1, Mr. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” is being penned by two Brits for Tate Taylor, director of The Help…it gives one pause that someone is making a movie about the icon who laid down the foundation of funk, hip-hop and black economic self-reliance with no African-American involvement behind the scenes. One of Brown’s most famous lines was, “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing; open up the door and I’ll get it myself.” How is that possible when the gatekeepers of this business keep the doors mostly locked shut in Hollywood?
What Hollywood execs need to realize is that black-themed stories appeal to the mainstream because they are uniquely American. Our story reminds audiences of struggles and triumphs, dreams and aspirations we all share. And it is only by conveying the particulars of African-American life that our narrative become universal. But making black movies without real participation by black filmmakers is tantamount to cooking a pot of gumbo without the “roux.” And if you don’t know offhand what “roux” is, you shouldn’t be making a black film.
Of course, the usual audience for The Hollywood Reporter (predominately white folks) gave Singleton’s piece the thumbs down, but he makes some very honest points that black folks have been talking about for years. I don’t even have to always have a black director behind a major film (because directing is not for everybody), but the concept of doing a black story with no black people involved definitely sounds preposterous. But what do you think?
Check out his full piece over at THR.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker’s criticism of Israel may have led to the University of Michigan disinviting her to speak at the university.
Business Insider reports that Walker, who is best known for her 1982 novel The Color Purple, had been invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the university’s Center for the Education of Women. And not she isn’t welcomed. “It is unclear why exactly the author’s invitation was rescinded,” according to AnnArbor.com.
Walker, however, thinks it may because of her recent criticism of Israel. Walker supports a boycott of Israel and refused to allow an Israeli edition of The Color Purple to be published, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
In an email Walker posted on her blog, she wrote:
I’m saddened to write this because I’m a proponent of free speech and have been brought up to allow everyone to have their say. But I also realize that there are other considerations that institutions are faced with. This afternoon I was contacted by the University of Michigan instructing me to withdraw their invitation due to the removal of funding from the donors, because of their interpretation of Ms. Walker’s comments regarding Israel. They are not willing to fund this program and the university/Women’s center do not have the resources to finance this on their own.
A statement from the director of UMich’s Center for the Education of Women, however, said that money was that reason:
I want to apologize for how we handled our invitation to author Alice Walker to speak at the Center for the Education of Women.
Upon further research, I decided to withdraw our invitation because I did not think Ms. Walker would be the optimum choice for the celebratory nature of our 50th anniversary event.
Donors had no bearing on this decision. Our 50th anniversary funding is completely assured. All donations, for this and other events, are accepted with no provisos or prohibitions regarding free speech.
Then over the weekend, it was reported that she actually would be invited to speak. The provost of the school, Martha E. Pollack, sent an email to faculty saying that each department can use its own discretion about who they invite to speak and reiterated the apology that had been offered by the Center’s director. “am writing to reiterate the university’s firm commitment to free speech and to the expression of diverse viewpoints. The University of Michigan has a long history of hosting speakers who bring a wide variety of perspectives, and events that focus on challenging topics. Challenging and difficult conversations are the core of our academic mission and spur both individual and community growth. Indeed, we strongly believe that the best response to challenging discourse is more discourse.”
Now we’ll see if this invitation sticks.
Soulful crooner Fantasia is gearing up to hit the Broadway stage in the jazz-inspired musical, After Midnight.
Directed by Warren Carlyle, the musical is set to showcase the work of Duke Ellington’s years at Harlem’s Cotton Club.
Fantasia will be the first of many guest headliners starring in the production and is scheduled to play performances through February 9, 2014.
The last time fans saw the American Idol alum on Broadway was in 2007’s The Color Purple, in her role as Celie.
Go ahead Fantasia! She is a true testament to what a change in your mind, body and spirit can do for your life. She’s looking better than ever and her career is really starting to go in a direction we always hoped it would for her.
You can check out the rest, including opening dates for After Midnight over on Essence.com.
Yesterday, we showed you this photo of Oprah dressed as her epic character “Sophia” from The Color Purple and Tyler Perry dressed as his most famous character Madea. Who ever thought that’d we see these two together?! Anyway once we got past the shock of the picture, we wondered what those two were up to. Well, today friends you’re going to find out. Sophia and Madea met up to promote Oprah’s network OWN. And let me tell you, it’s quite funny. I love when Oprah lets loose and has fun (like she did with surprising Jimmy Kimmel Book Club Fight Club skit).
Now Oprah’s back to the comedy with her good friend, Tyler Perry. Check out the skit and let us know if you chuckled a bit like I did.
What do you think? Funny, right?
Helluuuuur: Caption This Photo Of When Madea And Sophia From “The Color Purple” Meet For The First Time…
Well this is a pair we NEVER would have thought we’d see all buddy buddy. Not Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, but their characters of Miss Sophia from The Color Purple and Mabel “Madea” Simmons, of course. But it kind of makes sense. they’re both feisty “women,” they speak out about whatever is on their mind, and if a fool steps up, they can prepare to get BEAT DOWN.
Through his Twitter page, Perry tweeted this surprising photo/blast from the past with the caption, “Madea meets Sophia tomorrow. You don’t want to miss this.” Not 100 percent sure what these two have up their sleeves, but with Winfrey allowing Perry to bring new sitcoms to her OWN network this year, this could be anything from a guest appearance on one of them, to a promotional video, to just two rich people with time on their hands having some fun. Either way, it’s creepy and interesting all at the same time. So how would you caption this colorful photo of these two?
While some people watch movies and quietly root for the villain (no lie, I thought Bane in The Dark Knight Rises was bad a**!), many of us do the complete opposite–we watch these cocky, disrespectful, distasteful and often violent characters with disgust. Some are so good at being bad that we equate the actors with these characters for a long time, and some are eerily effective, to the point that you watch the character, act like you know them, and scoff at the fact that you dislike them so much. If you ever say, “UGH!” when you watch these movies, or shake your head at these characters a few times, then you’ll probably agree that they were villains you loved to hate.
Sanaa Lathan in The Family That Preys
If you watched just 30 minutes of The Family That Preys and viewed Lathan as Andrea, you were probably just as sick of her as we were. She was a conniving cheater, dogging out her hard-working and fine man (Rockmond Dunbar) for the town’s stuck-up socialite and trust-fund baby. And in the end, she revealed that *SPOILER* the son her husband thought was his blood was a product of her affair. She didn’t even look remorseful at all! Who else wanted to reach through the screen and shake her real good???
Gasp! A television network is dedicating time to show “socially-conscious” movies! That’s what the USA Network says it’s doing.
According to the NBCUniversal-owned network, it is broadening its “Characters Unite” public service initiative by launching a quarterly Saturday film series on Nov. 17 with a special airing of The Color Purple. It is all part of a unique diversity initiative, with Purple’s airing coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of Tolerance and the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which the film is based.
The series is the brainchild of NBCUniversal Cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer, who created the Erase the Hate campaign when she worked with USA nearly 20 years ago. More recently, she pushed through the Characters Unite campaign, which is intended to promote diversity. The idea was tested in April, when the network aired To Kill a Mockingbird on its 50th anniversary.President Obama introduced the 1962 movie about racial inequality, which went on to boost USA’s ratings by 20 percent.
“I’m a big believer that we’re not born knowing how to hate; we’re taught to hate,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter of her motivation. “We may be more sophisticated in how we hide it, but there are still so many phobias in this world, whether it’s Islamophobia, xenophobia or homophobia. I’ve been trying to do things that expose and help teach and draw attention to all of the ‘isms’ and how we do or don’t deal with them in our world. ”
And the project doesn’t stop with just the films. According to Hammer she hopes to organize panels, classroom applications and discussions with talent, producers or directors to accompany the socially-conscious films presented.
Eventually, Hammer told the magazine she would like to also create a contest in which college and graduate students submit films about diversity, which could wind up airing on other NBCUniversal cable outlets such Syfy and E!