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6 Lessons Black Men Can Learn About Perseverance From 'The Color Purple'

The Color Purple

While The Color Purple is a story about the growth and empowerment of Celie, a Black woman from the South, there are lessons that Black men can take away from the narrative. With the latest film iteration of the story, the lessons can be gained through music and song. One main lesson that both Black men and women can take away from the Black classic is how to persevere through struggle, self-doubt and trauma.

  1. After years of abuse and trauma, Celie taps into her creative and entrepreneurial side and opens her own business making pants in the place where most of her past trauma occurred. Her perseverance in her business endeavors can show both men and women that poison can be turned into medicine if one pushes through.

  2. While the 2023 version of The Color Purple was a musical based on the Broadway production, there were new songs written specifically for the new film that weren’t in the 1985 film, nor the Broadway musical, one such song being Keep It Movin. The song is sung by the younger version of the character Nettie (played by Halle Bailey), and the young version of Celie (played by Phylicia Pearl Mpasi). The lyrics of the songstress are about how not to let life break one’s spirit, and when things get tough to push through and Keep It Movin. The message of pushing through and not getting stuck in one place is how Black men can be inspired to thrive.

  3. Since the new The Color Purple is the third adaptation of the novel, the film’s director Blitz Bazawule had to find a unique angle to bring to his adaptation and refresh the story that people were already so familiar with, while also dealing with polarizing public opinions about the story itself. Bazoule was able to push through his inhibitions and hesitations about taking on the narrative to bring something new to the table by exploring the inner mind of the main protagonist.

  4. Besides the main character of Celie, another main character in the film who was forced to persevere through a myriad array of traumatic events from domestic violence, physical assault, imprisonment, and racism is the character Sofia (played by Danielle Brooks). After going through everything meant to break her soul and spirit, Sofia regains her sense of self and strength through the support of friends. Sofia’s song Hell No is a testament to not letting oneself be oppressed by forces whether other people or institutions, and being defiant in challenging them.

  5. During the filming of one of her major scenes, the film’s producer Oprah Winfrey stated that actress Taraji P. Henson redid a single scene 88 times. Henson’s dedication to getting the scene right and representing her character to the best of her ability by doing the scene that many times is a lesson that anyone can look to in what it means to persevere.

  6. Back to the music being a representation of the ability to persevere is Celie’s theme song I’m Here. In the film, Celie delivers the song from a heartfelt place of conviction telling the world that after all she’s been through she’s still here alive and open to experience love and joy after pushing through, pain, loss, loneliness and more.

The Color Purple directed by Blitz Bazawule is currently showing in movie theaters nationwide.

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