Winning high praise for her role in ‘the color purple’ fantasia barrino on learning the power of forgiveness and how her life has changed since ‘american idol’

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Fantasia reprises her Broadway role of Celie with Danielle Brook as Sofia in the new musical The Color Purple (above) and (below, from left) the two women celebrate its success with co-star Taraji P Henson and producer Oprah Winfrey, who played Sofia in the 1985 version. “I remember seeing [that version] when I was younger and it felt like such a big moment for me and the black community,” Fantasia says

Stepping into an iconic role is daunting enough, especially in a remake of a multi-Oscarnominated film that remains as loved today as when it was first released almost four decades ago.

But for Fantasia Barrino, the role of Celie in the new big-screen production of The Color Purple also came with bad memories.

“I played her on Broadway, back in 2007, but it was a tough time for me,” says the 39-year-old actress. “It was eight shows a week, I was so young and I was going through a lot personally.”

This time, however, it was different. “I loved the experience. Celie taught me so much. She loved everybody. She was full of forgiveness and that is what I want to try to be. I carry Celie with me and I hope to make her proud.”

Although Oscar glory has eluded her this year, the former American Idol winner has been savouring awards season, especially with a Golden Globe nomination.

She lost out to Emma Stone for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, but being a contender was exciting enough.

“I don’t know how to comprehend what’s happening to me,” she says. “I actually missed the [nomination] announcement on TV, but my mom and husband told me on the phone. I hung up, I was so shocked.”

Fantasia initially turned down the chance to reprise the role of Celie, partly due to the similarities between them – both are survivors of domestic violence who struggled with depression. But director Blitz Bazawule persuaded her. “He allowed me and the audience to see what women go through and that sometimes, we have to imagine ourselves in a different place before we get there.”

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