Pop Culture Fix: Maybe This Time We’ll Be Lucky, Maybe This Time “The Color Purple” Will Be Gay

“The Color Purple” Screenwriter Says He Wanted to Spotlight Celie and Shug’s Gay Storyline

fantasia singing in "the color purple"

The 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker’s bestselling lesbian novel The Color Purple was, like so many films, suspiciously void of any overtly gay content. The Broadway musical includes a love song between Celie and Shug, “What About Love?”, but many productions found a way to downplay the romantic aspect of that love.

So we are all, as a community, very hopeful that the new Color Purple musical film, debuting this holiday season in a theater near you, will in fact address the romantic love between Shug and Celie. At a special screening, screenwriter Marcus Gardley was asked about how he planned to address their relationship in the film, and according to Queerty, he had a pretty promising response:

“The romantic aspect between Celie and button pushing blues singer Shug Avery (Taraji P. Henson) “was very important,” added Gardley. “That’s part of the reason I got the job. My pitch led off with, ‘This is a love story between two women’. It was the most important thing to Alice Walker. In the original film, there was not enough of the romantic love between Celie and Shug. I wanted the love story to be prominent and didn’t want to brush over that these two women are in love.”

Here’s hoping!

Other Queer Pop Culture Stories For Your Day:

+ 20 of 2023’s LGBTQ-Inclusive Early Readers, Chapter Books, and Early Middle Grade Titles

+ “I Can’t Be Bothered”: JoJo Siwa Reacts To 5-Year-Old Interview Where She Hid The Fact That She Was Queer

+ Queer Stars Dazzle at Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” Film World Premiere

+ Margot Robbie doesn’t see the need for a Barbie sequel: ‘We put everything into this one’ — weird because I personally do see the need!

+ Doctor Who fans applaud ‘progressive’ trans storyline for Yasmin Finney’s Rose: ‘We love to see it’

+ It’s a Wonderful Knife is queer as hell Christmas horror packed with cleavers and clever twists

+ The Soul Train Awards Renamed a Gendered Award to Honor Janelle Monáe

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3212 articles for us.


  1. The Dr Who episode was really cute! I dropped out after Matt Smith and never quite managed to get back to watching the show, but having the 10th doctor and Donna Noble, directed by Russell T. Davies too, felt just like the old times and was wonderful!

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!