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March 27, 2015

Deadline's Dangerous Take on Hollywood Diversity

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It feels like Hollywood is finally starting to get what so many of us knew all along; audiences want to see diversity. Yet somehow, at this exciting moment of progress for the industry, Deadline Hollywood found it appropriate to publish what can only be described as a call for regression.

Colorado Lawmakers Use Slideshow With Racial Slurs When Pushing Bill For Native American Mascot Ban

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Police Settle Suit Over Use Of Tear Gas During Missouri Protests

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Here's Yet Another Sober Reminder We're Not Living In A Post-Racial Society

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Broadway Star Audra McDonald Slams Indiana Governor Over Anti-Gay Bill

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Naturi Naughton On Her 'Frustrating' Experiences From Being A Black Woman In Hollywood

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Oklahoma Civil Rights Pioneer Nancy Davis Dies At 88

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Deadline Piece On TV Diversity Slammed As 'Ignorant'

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Ex-DA Apologizes To Exonerated Man He Put On Death Row

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Prosecutor Used Hip-Hop As A Weapon To Convict Mac Phipps

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Charges For Pot In Colorado Have Plummeted, But Racial Disparities Still Persist

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Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

'The Color Purple' – Where Are They Now?
After achieving worldwide acclaim with box office hits 'Jaws' (1975) and 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' (1982), Steven Spielberg hit a milestone when he directed the film adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, 'The Color Purple,' in 1985. Featuring an array of new talent, including Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Akosua Busia, as well as veterans Danny Glover, Laurence Fishburne and Margaret Avery, the film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, best actress for Goldberg and best supporting actress for both Avery and Winfrey. It did not win any. The film follows the life of Celie Johnson (played by Goldberg), a young black girl growing up in the early 1900s. The first time we see Celie, she is 14 and pregnant by her father. We stay with her for the next 30 years of her tough life. Twenty-five years after the film debuted in theaters, Black Voices wanted to take a look at some of the actors who starred in this film and what's happened in their lives since making the cinematic masterpiece.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Whoopi Goldberg
Long before her acting career started, this gifted New York City native had a successful run as a comedian, appearing in a one-woman Broadway show titled 'The Spook Show.' Her performance impressed director Steven Spielberg, and he cast Goldberg, who had never done a film, as the movie's main character. Playing Celie Johnson, a downtrodden black woman in the South, earned Goldberg an Academy Award nomination for best actress and her first Golden Globe. Five years later, she would win a second Golden Globe and an Oscar for best supporting actress for her role opposite Patrick Swayze in the blockbuster film 'Ghost.' Goldberg is currently moderator and co-host of the Emmy Award winning talk show 'The View.'

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Akosua Busia
Making her film debut in the role of Nettie Harris in 'The Color Purple,' Akosua Busia would appear in her then-husband John Singleton's 'Rosewood' and work as one of three co-writers on the screen adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel 'Beloved,' which starred Oprah Winfrey and Thandie Newton, in 1998. In 2003, the Ghanaian actress appeared in Antoine Fuqua's 'Tears of the Sun.' Her most recent film credit includes the 2007 film 'Ascension Day,' which marked her directorial debut.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Alice Walker
Alice Walker wrote 'Purple' in 1982, becoming the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and also the first black woman to win the National Book Award. The acclaimed novel would be adapted for the big screen in 1985 and directed by Steven Spielberg. Walker, who hails from Eatonton, Ga., would go on to write several other novels and receive many accolades. After giving her blessing to Broadway producer Scott Sanders, Walker saw a new incarnation of her most cherished work when 'Purple' opened to critical reviews on The Great White Way in 2005. The following year, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Walker into the California Hall of Fame.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Andraé Crouch
Famed gospel singer Andraé Crouch was already a household name by the time he gained critical acclaim for the historically detailed music he composed and arranged for the 1985 film 'The Color Purple.' The Los Angeles native and eight-time Grammy Award winner also worked on 'The Lion King' and also wrote the song 'You Will Be There,' which was featured in the film 'Free Willy.' In 2004, Crouch became one of only three gospel musicians honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2009, the San Francisco native paid a moving tribute to late, great music icon Michael Jackson during an internationally-televised memorial tribute.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Oprah Winfrey
Also making her film debut in the Quincy Jones-produced film adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was this Kosciusko, Miss., native, who was in her early years as a Chicago talk show host. Oprah Winfrey's role as Sofia, the strong-willed housewife of Harpo, earned her an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress. She would go to star and produce other films, including 'The Women of Brewster Place,' and 'Beloved,' before coming back to co-produce a Broadway musical of 'Purple' in late 2005. Known as one of the most influential (and richest) woman in the world, Winfrey announced that after 20-plus years on television, 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' will end on September 2011.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Laurence Fishburne
Acting since age 12, Larry Fishburne (as he was once known) has worked in television, films and theater. By the time he was cast in the minor role of Swain in 'The Color Purple,' the Augusta, Ga., native had already made memorable films such as 'Cornbread, Earl and Me,' 'Apocalypse Now' and 'Rumble Fish.' After a recurring role as Cowboy Curtis in the CBS children's television show 'Pee-wee's Playhouse,' Fishburne stepped up his game in the film world by playing Dap in Spike Lee's second theatrical release 'School Daze.' He would later win a Tony Award for his stage performance in the August Wilson play 'Two Trains Running' before receiving worldwide acclaim as Morpheus, the hacker mentor of Neo, in the 1999 blockbuster science fiction film 'The Matrix' and its two sequels. Married to actress Gina Torres, Fishburne recently co-starred in the action film 'Armored' with Columbus Short and will appear in 'Predators,' a sequel to the 1987 classic action film 'Predator.' He also stars on the hit TV series 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Margaret Avery
For her incredible performance as the spirited Blues singer Shug in 'The Color Purple,' Margaret Avery was rewarded with an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress. The Mangum, Okla., who already was seen in 'Hell Up in Harlem' with Fred Williamson, 'The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh' (with NBA legend Julius Erving) and 'Which Way is Up?' (with Richard Pryor), has since made numerous TV guest appearances. In 2008, Avery played Mama Jenkins in 'Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,' opposite Martin Lawrence and James Earl Jones, and Sarah Brown in Tyler Perry's 'Meet the Browns,' which starred Angela Bassett and Rick Fox.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Rae Dawn Chong
After appearing in the rap film 'Beat Street' in 1984, Rae Dawn Chong would later take on the smaller role of Squeak in 'The Color Purple.' From there, the Canadian actress and daughter of comedian-actor Tommy Chong starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in the action film 'Commando' and in 'Soul Man' with C. Thomas Howell. Chong later married and divorced Howell. Her most recent big-screen film role was in the drama 'Constellation,' opposite Hill Harper and Gabrielle Union.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

Steven Spielberg
Before winning an Academy Award for best picture for 'Schindler's List' and two best director Oscars for that film and 'Saving Private Ryan,' Steven Spielberg was no stranger to Oscar nominations. His 1985 'Color Purple' had been nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture. It did not win any. Though some criticized him – a white man – for taking on such a heavy project about the black experience, the Cincinnati native won his first Directors Guild of America Award for 'Purple.' Spielberg, along with David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, formed the studio DreamWorks in 1997. Returning to the directing world, he last helmed 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,' reuniting with Harrison Ford.

Where Are They Now? - The Color Purple

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