Oprah Surprises Federal City Alumnae at Red Carpet Pre-Screening of “The Color Purple”

Submitted by Antoinette McIntosh-Harper

On December 13, 2023, approximately 176 members of the Federal City Alumnae Chapter and friends, packed the theater to view the pre-screening of the musical adaptation of “The Color Purple” at Gallery Place in downtown Washington, D.C. 

After greetings from Chapter President, Vanessa Grant, Arts and Letters Chairs Kendra Dinkins and L’Erin Garner-Holden opened the event with a spirited movie trivia game, where people had to frequently be reminded to raise their hands. Four purple won Telfar Medium shopping bags for answering correctly. The bag is significant because it is on the list of Oprah’s favorite things.

In addition to the trivia, the audience was asked to raise their hand if they had not seen the original movie, released in 1985, or read the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker, published in 1982.  Surprisingly, a few people raised their hands.

Two audience members shared their opinions about the movie, with both highlighting the resilience of black women, focusing on how “Sisterhood” helped the characters find their space and their voice in a male dominated world.

One audience member, Shana Grant, a senior at Spelman College, said “I have resonated with the themes of sisterhood, collective liberation, and community presented in previous adaptations of The Color Purple. I now know these things to be practices that Black women perform every day and Alice Walker helped us put a name to them–the practice of ‘womanism.’ I am grateful for her portrayal.”

Aisha-Matrice Ayodele, member of theFCAC, poignantly discussed the character arc of “Miss Sofia” who is “strong-willed,” and later “broken” after an incident with Miss Millie (the Mayor’s wife). Ayodele stated that what stood out to her the most about the movie is that the “sisterhood of black women” helped “Sofia reclaim her voice.”

After the trivia, the audience was greeted by the Eastern Regional Representative, Soror Jerra Holdip and our International President, Soror Elsie Cooke-Holmes. The Eastern Regional Director and past the FCAC President, Soror Rosie Allen-Herring, personally greeted guests and in lieu of greetings humbly said, “this is home.”

And then, Jotaka Eaddy, Founder and CEO of Full-Circle Strategies, asked the audience to complete the quote, “All my life…” and the incomparable Oprah Winfrey finished the line, “I had to fight.”  The audience recognized her voice immediately, jumped up and shouted the lines with her.

Winfrey, dressed in a gorgeous embroidered purple suit, greeted the audience, and took photos. Winfrey stated that “no one could tell her” about the original movie but she was excited about this adaptation and encouraged everyone to see the movie again on opening day, December 25.

Chapter President Grant echoed the message stating that while she was extremely grateful for everyone attending, she encouraged attendees to support the opening day because “that has the most impact.”

1 thought on “Oprah Surprises Federal City Alumnae at Red Carpet Pre-Screening of “The Color Purple””

  1. Dear Sorors,
    I am a member of MCAC DST in Silver Spring, MD. I had a chance to be an “Extra” in the new The Color Purple movie. I want to thank Oprah, Fantasia, and Halle for taking the time to take pictures with me while I was on set during the African village scene. I was supposed to be “Extra” in the 1985 movie, but I got sick and couldn’t make it. To get another chance 38 years later was amazing! What a memorable and exciting experience for me!
    Soror Jeanette Simmons

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