Greenfield: The Narcissism of ‘The Color Purple’ is Turning Off Audiences

“In day-to-day life, I worship the Earth (and its sun),” Alice Walker wrote, explaining that her novel, ‘The Color Purple’, is about among other things, disavowing “a God that resembles ‘the little fat white man who works in the bank.’”The musical remake of ‘The Color Purple’ now in theaters was rewritten to better reflect the more politically correct version of Walker’s writing by playing up its lesbian relationship but also toning down the politically incorrect parts including the abusive black men and boys in the novel.The 2023 adaptation of a musical of the original novel was billed as the first truly black take on it and yet it’s also the one that smoothes away all the rough edges for a movie that is woke, but also bland and inoffensive, and blandness is a signature of woke entertainment. Sometimes, like Taylor Swift’s endless march through pop culture, woke blandness triumphs to rule the day.But ‘The Color Purple’ musical bombed. Badly.After winning the Christmas box office on group sales to black women in the South, the movie, which cost over $100 million, at the least, fell 62% and declined to 7th place. Where the original movie had been the top PG-13 film of the year and scored nearly $100 million (around a quarter of a billion in today’s dollars) on a budget of $15 million, the remake reversed that.Some of that is typical of the unforced DEI errors that are wrecking woke Hollywood.

Rather than pick an experienced filmmaker, Steven Spielberg stood by and let the project be handed over to ‘Blitz the Ambassador’, a Ghanaian rapper whose previous movie was ‘Black Is King’: Beyonce’s extended black nationalist music video, with a script from Marcus Gardley, who hasn’t been credited on a movie script, but did write ‘No More Monsters Here’ which “is a satire about a young white female who visits a psychiatrist and gets diagnosed with ‘Negrophobia’”.While the publicity for ‘The Color Purple’ hyped the fact that black people were in charge of an adaptation of the novel for the first time, little attention was paid to the fact that it was two men.In woke dogma, race is absolute while womanhood is a figment of the psyche, but putting two men in charge of a work meant to appeal to women may have proven that it’s the other way around. The black women who came to see the 2023 adaptation early on never told their friends to come. Or worse they told them to stay home because the movie did not speak to them.When Steven Spielberg directed the original movie, it benefited from appearing to break taboos. That is what brought in the white liberals in the 1980s who decided to stay home in the 2020s. Hollywood is in the middle of a golden era of black nationalist movies in which project after project demonizes white people, celebrates racist domestic terrorists and pushes sexual transgressiveness. And so the white BLMers didn’t turn out for ‘The Color Purple’.In a woke environment, ‘The Color Purple’.is also old enough that it can’t win, too lesbian for the church lady audience and not nearly LGBTQAI+ for woke zoomers taking media courses. The musical remake has already been attacked for “erasing queerness” by not being gay enough. ‘Blitz the Ambassador’ isn’t woke enough for a culture that rejects anything less than fully edgy.At the heart of Alice Walker’s work is the neopagan idea of replacing god with a black woman whose martyrdom at the hands of society, organized religion and men, both white and black, reflects the ideal of the goddess and the Earth, was edgy once, now a cliche. What Walker only delivers as a metaphor, Darren Aronofsky writ large with ‘Mother!’ in which Jennifer Lawrence is the titular mother representing Planet Earth being abused by the religious fanatics of humanity.Walker, who believes that Jews are shapeshifting reptilian aliens, is still edgy, but not in a way that Hollywood can quite figure out how to package. Hating men is one thing, but hating men so much that she sides with J.K. Rowling is the kind of thing no publicist can figure out how to spin. But Walker is also a fan of David Icke, a former English soccer player, who believes that the Earth is secretly ruled by “an intergalactic race of reptilians” and that the moon is a hologram.Go ahead and turn that into a life-affirming musical aimed at getting people back into theaters.There was always a fundamental mismatch between Walker’s pathological hatred and its intended audience. The 2023 remake trims away the protagonist’s ‘letters to god’. Walker believes that the Creator of the Universe is a “a frightful, jealous, cruel, murderous ‘God’ of another race and tribe of people” and by that she means the Jews. Antisemitism is not a major sales issue, but like many black nationalists, her hatred of Jews is also a hatred of God.As Amiri Baraka, the black nationalist poet whose inclusion on the AP Black Studies curriculum recently stirred controversy, wrote. “Atheist jews double crossers stole our secrets crossed the white desert to spill them… The fag’s death they gave us on a cross… they give us to worship a dead jew and not ourselves.”Five-Percent Nation, a Nation of Islam splinter group whose devotees allegedly include JayZ and the Wu Tang Clan, under Allah the Father (formerly Clarence 13X 1928-1969) who believe that all black men are gods and therefore should only be worshiping themselves are the ultimate expression of black nationalism as atheistic racial narcissism.Walker, Baraka and many black nationalists made themselves into the object of worship with prototypes of black men and women undergoing martyrdom and suffering to gain awareness of the godhood within them. This message of black liberation is at odds with the religion and culture of Black America. It’s why the art and culture of black nationalism remains an academic and activist project subsidized by white radicals.Steven Spielberg, turning in his director’s chair for a role as a producer (along with Oprah), seems determined to oversee unnecessary woke remakes. After a failed West Side Story musical remake that was supposed to grapple with racial and class issues, you would think he would have learned better. Instead he’s racking up one woke failure after another.‘The Color Purple’ as a novel was culture as a gateway to politics and theology. None of the adaptations have done justice to its twisted message, but then few white liberals or black people have really reckoned with the proposed calling of black nationalist theology to worship the self. Mostly they wallow in the graphic litany of abuses while ignoring the larger message.The power and resilience of the traditional black community had been grounded in faith. Black nationalism’s call to worship the racial and sexual self has produced domestic terrorism, hatred, broken families, bad art and general misery. The failure of ‘The Color Purple’ is only the latest bad art whose misery will mostly be inflected on its audiences, investors and producers.In both the political and the financial sense, ‘The Color Purple’s true color ends up red.

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield is a blogger and columnist born in Israel and living in New York City. He is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a contributing editor at Family Security Matters. Daniel's original biweekly column appears at Front Page Magazine and his blog articles regularly appear at Family Security Matters, the Jewish Press, Times of Israel, Act for America and Right Side News, as well as daily at the Canada Free Press and a number of other outlets. He has a column titled Western Front at Israel National News and his op eds have also appeared in the New York Sun, the Jewish Press and at FOX Nation. Daniel was named one of the Jewish Press' Most Worthwhile Blogs from 2006-2011 and his writing has been cited by Rush Limbaugh, Melanie Philips, Robert Spencer, Daniel Pipes, Judith Klinghoffer, John Podhoretz, Jeff Jacoby and Michelle Malkin, among others. Daniel's blog, http://sultanknish.blogspot.com, is a daily must-read.

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