Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor Criticizes ‘The Color Purple’ For ‘Sanitizing’ Black Lesbian Storyline


Even though Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor starred as Mama in the 2023 musical remake of The Color Purple, the Origin actor is not happy with how the film portrayed the relationship between Taraji P. Henson’s Shug and Fantasia Barrino’s Celie. Ellis-Taylor, who identifies as bisexual, shared her thoughts with BuzzFeed in an interview published Friday (February 16th).

“The Color Purple is a book about Black lesbians. Whether the choice was made to focus on that or not in the cinematic iterations of The Color Purple, it's still a movie about Black lesbians,” the King Richard actor told the outlet. “People can try to say the story is about sisterhood, but it's a story about Black lesbians. Period.”

“What is hard for me is that when we have those spaces where we can honor the truth of that, we walk away from it. We suppress it. We hide it. We sanitize it,” Ellis-Taylor added. “In the sanitizing of it, someone like me — knowing that The Color Purple is a book about Black lesbians — looks at that and thinks, "You're sanitizing me and my friends, and other people who I love and adore. Why?" [If it's because] you don't want to be offensive, then you're saying to the world that I'm offensive.”