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Taraji P. Henson Explains Why She Didn’t Answer Oprah’s Phone Call For “Color Purple” Role

Taraji P. Henson will “never forget the day,” Oprah Winfrey told her she had booked a role in “The Color Purple” movie musical.

Taraji P. Henson revealed in an interview that she initially didn’t answer the phone when Winfrey, who produced the new movie, called her to announce that she would be playing Shug Avery.

“I saved my recording. I don’t answer calls from numbers that I don’t know, and Oprah’s number comes up unknown,” Taraji P. Henson shared. “Tyler Perry hit me and was like, ‘Are you answering your phone?’ I was like, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Girl, just answer the phone!’

“I’ll never forget the day. I was so nervous. What do you say to Oprah? I was practicing my, ‘Hi! Hello! Yes, Oprah!’ And finally, she came on the phone and told me, ‘Shug Avery is coming to town!’ It was the best moment ever.”

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Henson had previously turned down an offer to be involved in the Broadway musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel because she was scared she was “going to blow out (her) vocal chords” singing every night.

However, she felt “ready” to be a part of the movie musical because she didn’t have to sing as often.

“You go in the studio, you sing the song, and then they play it on the set. So you don’t have to really sing full-out,” she explained. “It’s the difference between singing that one time in the studio (and) singing eight nights in a row on Broadway.”

Winfrey played Sofia in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film adaptation and has continued “The Color Purple’s” legacy by producing the stage and screen musicals.

Henson stars alongside Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, and Colman Domingo in the feature, which will be released on Christmas Day.

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