Fantasia Barrino & Danielle Brooks Discuss Emotional Toll Of Color Purple


Everyone can take something away from this story because it resonates so deeply because of the themes presented. How do you immerse yourself in these characters who are going through so much and not bring that home? What did you do to make sure the topics didn't keep popping up in your mind?

Fantasy: So when I did it on Broadway in 2007, it was hard for me because my life was dark as hell. I didn't know how to disconnect from Ceilie. I took her home and woke up with Celie. I was calling my mom and yelling at her and saying “I don't like this feeling” but again it was because my life was in ruins. Now that I'm older, wiser, healing and still healing today, I see things a little differently. Now I was able to tap into and remember those dark times. I had times where I was like, “You better go girl, you made it through this, go ahead, you’re a bad mom jama.” I still allowed myself to feel but in the end I was like “Girl, you did that” and it's something I want every young girl to see, I have a daughter who is 22 now and I want her to see that you're going through some things, that's life, but it's how you get through it that matters. You don't have to forget it, you don't have to hide it, and you don't have to prove to anyone but yourself that you did it. Then you can say to another young girl: “This is what I experienced, do it like this, do it like that” and we succeed, we overcome. We have to take a test for a testimony. I had to take a test, but this is now our testimony.

Danielle: For me, I went to Juilliard, and they taught us at Juilliard how to get out of character after you've been on stage for an hour or two hours, but there are some things that Juilliard just can't teach you. What we were doing for me was like ancestry work, blood work, that's what I call it, spiritual work. Calling on the ancestors for over 70 days while we were filming was a lot and I felt very exhausted after doing that.

A lot of my time, when we were shooting difficult scenes, I would spend time in my trailer and pray. First, I pray to Him and thank the ancestors for giving me what I needed and now I will release Him by doing just that. That's how I got through it because it was really difficult and there were a lot of things to face. The prison scenes, the dinner scenes, the white crowd arriving in Sofia. There was a lot. Again, there are some things you have to learn for yourself, and I learned how to detox a character.

Fantasy: I think a lot of women identify with Sofia and Celie because they've been through a lot, they've been through a lot. I will never forget that scene at dinner after Celie checked on Monsieur and left. We both have a moment where we wake up completely.

Strength in sisterhood, when you see someone you admire stand up for themselves and become a new person, then you also become a stronger person.

Fantasy: YES. It was a great moment. I tell her what I want to tell her and Sofia just sits there. No one at the table is used to this because we are used to Sofia saying “Don't keep me Harpo, don't keep me waiting” but after seeing her good friend come every day, visit her, feed her , invest in her, she stands up and says “there are going to be changes around here, I like it, I’m back”. I think every woman needs to see that sisterhood and that strength and the fact that sometimes you go through things, but it's the process and it's necessary. If you trust the process, you will end up like us.



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