The Color Purple stars Fantasia, Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson praise director Blitz Bazawule’s ability to make the film’s story less about trauma and more about the resiliency and joy of the Black experience, particularly the Black feminine experience.

In an interview with Blavity’s Shadow and Act Managing Editor Trey Mangum, Fantasia said how Bazawule centered the power of imagination within the characters, despite their various traumas.

“I’m proud of Blitz. He’s a visionary. The story is something that is very special to him as well and I’m glad that he gave Celie an imagination, but he also gave us all an imagination,” she said. “It shows who we are as Black people; we don’t just sit and wallow in trauma. We come out some kind of way and I feel like the younger generation needs to see that. You will fall, that’s going to happen. Life be lifin’, but you can get back up and I think that he did an amazing job by allowing you guys to see a little bit of that trauma and so much joy.”

“We had to make The Color Purple a musical because that’s who we are,” added Henson. “We are a musical people and so going and dealing with all of this trauma, we know trauma. We have been taught how to function dysfunctionally since slavery. We didn’t have therapists. We had no one to talk to. So trauma has just been passed down generation after generation after generation. So in order to break that curse, how we heal must look different.”

“I just think it’s brilliant that this incredible book was turned into a musical because that’s how we are,” she continued. “If we can’t find the words to say, we sing, we go to church, we dance and we move and we always have a song in our heart no matter what we went through. The slaves…they’re still singing, in the fields picking cotton. We always have a resilience about us and [know] how to turn that trauma into something so beautiful.”

Watch the full interview with the cast above.

The Color Purple will be in theaters on Christmas Day.