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ARTE NOIR EDITORIAL

THE COLOR IS PURPLE, THE SPIRIT IS WEST AFRICAN

The newly reimagined take on THE COLOR PURPLE is all anyone is talking about right now. There is probably a whole generation of people out in the world who think Oprah Winfrey originated the film, which is based on the groundbreaking novel by Alice Walker, whose name is rarely uttered in connection to the film. Another person not widely mentioned is the director of this new take on the classic.


It's awards season and everyone will be looking to see which of the star-studded cast will get a nom and who won't. In 1985, the original THE COLOR PURPLE film garnered 11 Oscar nominations, but, wait for it, did not receive a single win. However, that film's director Steven Spielberg received a Director's Guild of America award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, so it's going to be quite curious to see how all of this shakes out in the 2024 award season, particularly given how this new film brings together both African and African American sensibilities to reimagine.


The spirit of West Africa is at the helm of this new film in the form of Ghanaian-born director Samuel "Blitz" Bazawule. Born in Accra, Blitz, aka Blitz the Ambassador, is as solid an artist as one can be. Not only is he a director of beautiful films like his debut, The Burial of Kojo, but he is also an author, singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer, and this just scratches the surface of his enormous talents.


In 2015, Blitz lit up Seattle's MoPOP with an electric performance at Madaraka Festival. Backed by a band of Seattle music legends and legends in the making, Blitz gave us an unforgettable performance. Five years later, he would be named director for the remake of this groundbreaking story and film.


The significance of bringing the spirit of Ghana into the making of THE COLOR PURPLE is the ingredient that perhaps we didn't know we missed or needed. Like with Celie and Nettie, Africa and America are important portions of our colored lives.



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