NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Christmas gift arrived early for TSU, and it was wrapped in the color purple. TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey treated the Tennessee State University community to an early Christmas celebration with an exclusive screening of The Color Purple ahead of its official debut on Christmas Day. Over 150 students, staff, and community members gathered at the event, dressed in hues of purple to honor the highly anticipated movie.
Prior to the movie starting TSU President Glenda Glover expressed her gratitude. “We are thankful to Ms. Winfrey for her thoughtfulness and for giving her TSU family an advanced screening of the film before its opening on Christmas Day.”
Timothy Brewer Jr., a senior studying agricultural sciences said it was a great moment for students, faculty, and alumni to come together and recognize this film. “I love that this is a TSU exclusive,” he said. “It shows the potential of the current students at the university, and what we can achieve because our alumni are setting the paths of what dreams are made of.”
As students enjoyed the musical remake of The Color Purple, Shaniya Harris, a junior studying psychology, shared her appreciation. “The movie was great. I became even more grateful for what women have now because the norm was for us to be treated any kind of way,” she said.
Zaya Bryant, a TSU junior and Nashville native, mentioned that she didn’t fully appreciate the original movie’s magnitude when she was younger. “So, having the opportunity to see this with my TSU community is great. I can take in what our TSU alumna has done, and it makes everything feel really full circle,” said Bryant, who is an early childhood education major.
TSU’s generosity extended beyond the campus by partnering with the YWCA and invited their clients. Dr. Daffany Baker, Vice President of domestic violence services of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, coordinated the trip and brought 20 clients from their Weaver Domestic Violence center and their family members to view the screening.
“The color that represents domestic violence is purple,” Baker said, noting that their mission of eliminating racism and empowering women correlated with the movie regarding growth, transition, and prosperity.
“Just to see how our clients felt was amazing,” she said. “They loved it and felt very encouraged. They were overjoyed to come to a movie in general. We are grateful that TSU allowed us the opportunity to share the screening of The Color Purple.”
Sharon K. Roberson, President and CEO of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee also noted how this film mirrors their mission and expressed appreciation for this opportunity.
“It’s a blessing to be able to share this gift with survivors who have turned to us in their greatest time of need, and we hope the movie will inspire women to continue their journey of freedom, safety, and empowerment,” Roberson said.
Before the screening began, Oprah Winfrey sent a heartfelt video message to her alma mater and those attending the screening.
“I don’t even have the words to say how happy I am to have you all gathered here tonight for this advance screening of The Color Purple.” Winfrey said in the video. “I wanted to create a special moment for you all, for my TSU community and family. TSU! TSU! I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. I hope you come away from this event this evening with your spirit full, that your heart is filled with joy, and you’re looking forward to the future and know that anything is possible when you notice the color purple.”
The Color Purple opens in theaters on Christmas Day with a star-studded cast, including American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino and Oscar nominated actress Taraji P. Henson.