Fantasia Barrino spent her 39th birthday in style—and with some very special people!
While attending the 2023 Essence Festival in New Orleans, the actress and singer was greeted with a cake and entertained by her The Color Purple co-stars, Oprah Winfrey, Taraji P. Henson, and Danielle Brooks. On Friday, Winfrey, 69, posted a video of the heartwarming event to her Instagram page.
Barrino could be seen grinning and cheering as Brooks, 33, and Henson, 52, headed toward her holding the cake and dancing and singing “Happy Birthday.” As the song progressed, the American Idol alum became obviously emotional, with tears streaming down her cheeks, particularly when Winfrey entered the room and hugged her.
“We adore you. As Barrino blew out her candles, an off-camera voice stated, “We love you so much.”
“We love you. We love you so much,” said a voice from off camera as Barrino blew out her candles.
“Our Celie in the new @thecolorpurple, turned 39 today — so we had to celebrate it while part of the Purple family is at @essencefest 🥳🎂🎉 @daniebb3 @tarajiphenson @essence,” Winfrey posted on Instagram.
Celie Barrino will make her feature film debut in the forthcoming musical version of Alice Walker’s book. Henson plays Shug Avery, while Brooks plays Sofia.
The film also stars Halle Bailey, David Alan Grier, and Louis Gossett Jr. and is produced by Winfrey, who played Sofia in the 1985 picture opposite Whoopi Goldberg as Celie.
In May, Warner Bros. released the first trailer for the movie, which featured Barrino in character. The trailer’s press release described the film as a “bold new take on the beloved classic” about “the extraordinary sisterhood of three women who share one unbreakable bond.”
Winfrey highlighted directing the new project as a “full-circle moment” that “holds great personal meaning” to her at CinemaCon 2023 in April.
The Color Purple in 1985 was the greatest and most significant thing that ever occurred to her, and it continues to be, she remarked on stage. Now they’re doing a brand-new version that could only come due to the most perfect director, Blitz Bazawule, who made his directorial debut with The Burial of Kojo in 2018.
Winfrey and her friend Gayle King, 68, visited the film’s Georgia location in April and wrote about their emotional experience on OprahDaily.com.
“I unexpectedly burst into happy tears at the very first sight of the gifted Danielle Brooks, who played Sofia on Broadway and now in this reincarnation. It felt like the baton was truly being passed on in one of the most special moments in my life. We both hugged and ugly cried together,” Winfrey wrote.
“When Gayle and I saw the cast perform the finale, we couldn’t help but give a standing ovation,” she said. “We nearly ruined the scene with our clapping and screaming, but they were so incredible, it felt like we were at a concert.”
The Color Purple will be released in cinemas on December 25.
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