It’s been 37 years since Oprah Winfrey demanded our attention in her Oscar-nominated role as Sofia in The Color Purple. These days she’s become a billionaire media mogul, but in a way, she’ll always be Sofia to us. Apparently, the famed talk show host feels the same way, because visiting the set of the upcoming The Color Purple musical adaptation was a very emotional experience for her.
Winfrey chronicled her visit on Oprah Daily, writing, “I unexpectedly burst into happy tears at the very first sight of the gifted Danielle Brooks, who played Sofia on Broadway and now in this reincarnation. It felt like the baton was truly being passed on in one of the most special moments in my life. We both hugged and ugly cried together.”
The star-studded film features Fantasia as Celie, Danielle Brooks as Sofia, Taraji P. Henson as Shug Avery, Colman Domingo as Mister, Corey Hawkins as Harpo, H.E.R. as Squeak, Halle Bailey as Young Nettie, Ciara as Adult Nettie and Louis Gossett Jr. as Ol’ Mister.
Accompanied by her best friend, journalist Gayle King, Oprah joked about taking her first work trip in two and a half years, “It took The Color Purple to get me to finally leave my house.” On the day the duo visited, the cast and crew were shooting the big finale, which meant they had to pretend they’d already been through the emotional story of the whole film.
“When Gayle and I saw the cast perform the finale, we couldn’t help but give a standing ovation,” Winfrey writes. “We nearly ruined the scene with our clapping and screaming, but they were so incredible, it felt like we were at a concert.”
And since nothing really happens until you put it on Instagram, Oprah posted a photo of her visit with the caption, “We cried, we sang, and we even did the Electric Slide. I can tell you for sure this ain’t your mama’s Color Purple—but I bet you, your mama, and the whole family is gonna love this new reimagined and evolved version.”
The Color Purple is scheduled for release in December 2023.