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Who plays Shug Avery in the new color purple?

The role of Shug Avery in the new movie adaptation of The Color Purple will be played by Fantasia Barrino. Fantasia is an American R&B singer and actress who first rose to fame as the winner of the third season of American Idol in 2004. She was cast in the key role of Shug Avery, a sultry jazz and blues singer who becomes a mentor and lover to the main character Celie.

Who is Shug Avery in The Color Purple?

In Alice Walker’s novel The Color Purple, Shug Avery is a pivotal character who helps the protagonist Celie gain confidence and independence. Celie is a young black woman living in rural Georgia in the early 1900s who endures years of abuse from her husband. Shug enters her life as the mistress of Celie’s abusive husband, though the two women become lovers and form a deep emotional bond.

Shug introduces Celie to the pleasure of sexuality and helps empower her to leave her husband and discover her self-worth. She represents an independent, sexually liberated woman who defies the social norms of the time period. Though she grapples with alcoholism and a series of unhealthy relationships with men, Shug serves as a guiding force in Celie’s life.

About Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia Monique Barrino, known professionally as simply Fantasia, was born in High Point, North Carolina in 1984. She had a challenging upbringing, dropping out of high school and working low-wage jobs to support herself and her daughter as a single mother. She found fame in 2004 as the winner of American Idol season 3, captivating audiences with her powerful voice and emotional performances.

Fantasia went on to release several R&B albums including Free Yourself (2004), Fantasia (2006), Back to Me (2010), Side Effects of You (2013), The Definition Of… (2016), Sketchbook (2019) and most recently Sketches II (2022). She has won a Grammy award for her hit single “Bittersweet” and received many other Grammy nominations over the years. She has also appeared on Broadway in productions of The Color Purple and After Midnight.

Why Fantasia Barrino is perfect to play Shug Avery

There are several key reasons why Fantasia is the ideal choice to bring the character of Shug Avery to life in the new Color Purple movie:

  • She is an accomplished singer, like the character of Shug. Fantasia will be able to convincingly portray Shug’s captivating musical performances.
  • She has a background and life story that echoes some of Shug’s struggles. Like Shug, Fantasia has dealt with abuse, relationships with men, and finding her own strength and voice.
  • She appeared in the Broadway musical version of The Color Purple in 2007, playing the role of Celie. This intimate experience with the story and characters will inform her portrayal of Shug.
  • She is an Academy Award winning actress, securing the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her very first movie role in Dreamgirls in 2006. She has proven her strong acting chops.
  • Fantasia is the perfect age (late 30s) to take on the dynamic, worldly character of Shug Avery.

In summary, Fantasia has the singing talent, life experience, acting range, and ideal age to embody Shug Avery in the latest screen adaptation of Alice Walker’s timeless novel.

More about the new Color Purple movie

The upcoming Color Purple movie is a theatrical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning 1982 novel of the same name. This will be the second major film adaptation, following the acclaimed 1985 version directed by Steven Spielberg starring Whoopi Goldberg as Celie and Margaret Avery as Shug.

The new adaptation is being directed by Blitz Bazawule, who helmed Beyonce’s Black is King film. The script was written by Marcus Gardley, based closely on the book and Broadway musical. The all-star cast includes Fantasia as Shug Avery, Taraji P. Henson as Celie, and H.E.R. as Squeak.

Filming took place in Georgia in 2022 and the movie is slated for a December 2023 release by Warner Bros. There is already Oscar buzz circulating for the project and anticipation is high among fans of Walker’s novel.

Other key roles

In addition to Fantasia as Shug Avery, several other key roles have been cast for the new version of The Color Purple:

  • Celie – Played by Taraji P. Henson, she is the main protagonist who endures abuse from her husband but eventually gains independence.
  • Nettie – Celie’s sister, played by Halle Bailey. Nettie becomes a missionary in Africa.
  • Mister – Celie’s abusive husband, played by Corey Hawkins. His real name is eventually revealed to be Albert.
  • Sofia – Harpo’s strong-willed wife, played by H.E.R. She becomes friends with Celie.
  • Harpo – Mister’s son, played by Taraji P. Henson’s real-life son Marcell Johnson. He marries Sofia.
  • Squeak – Harpo’s timid girlfriend, played by Ciara. She is raped by Mister.

The cast brings together an impressive mix of acting talent, musical icons, and fresh faces. With Fantasia leading the way in the pivotal role of Shug Avery, fans are excited to see this beloved story come to life once again on the big screen.


The casting of Grammy-winning R&B artist Fantasia Barrino as Shug Avery is perfect for the upcoming remake of The Color Purple. Fantasia has the vocal chops, personal background, and acting ability to embody the dynamic, empowering character who acts as a mentor and catalyst for Celie’s journey towards independence. Along with stars like Taraji P. Henson and H.E.R., Fantasia will bring passion, spirit, and authenticity to this revered story of strength in the face of adversity. Fans eagerly anticipate Fantasia lighting up the screen as the one and only Miss Shug Avery when the film releases in 2023.

Character Actor
Shug Avery Fantasia Barrino
Celie Taraji P. Henson
Nettie Halle Bailey
Mister Corey Hawkins
Sofia H.E.R.
Harpo Marcell Johnson
Squeak Ciara