Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Whoopi Goldberg Talks ‘Color Purple’ Backlash and Being Shunned By Black Community

Whoopi Goldberg

*Whoopi Goldberg has opened up about some of the harsh criticism she received throughout her career, and most of it came from the Black community. 

Goldberg spoke to ESSENCE recently about those moments and the affect it still has on her today.

“Listen, I caught a lot of shit from Black people [over the years]. Apparently, I wasn’t Black enough, but people forget if they saw me running down the street and it’s the Klan, they’re going to chase me. That’s how I measure it, is the Klan going to chase you if you run? Yes. They’re going to chase me. That means I’m Black enough,” she explained. 

Whoopi believes marrying and dating white men only fueled the hateful comments hurled her way.

READ MORE: Whoopi Goldberg Writing Movie About Old Black Woman Superhero Who Saves Earth

Recalling her breakout role in “The Color Purple,” Whoopi acknowledges that most of the criticism over the film at the time was due to white director Steven Spielberg overseeing the project.

“You don’t see a lot of Black people in movies, in ensemble films, and here’s a great ensemble film made by a guy who probably would not have made it if someone else had stepped up, but nobody else did. And so he’s getting sh*t for doing it, and then we make this really good film, and then everybody’s pissed. It’s like, you did read the book, didn’t you? What did you think we were doing?”

In terms of other Black women in Hollywood, Whoopi claims she wasn’t often embraced by them

“Alfre Woodard, and, I have to say, Debbie Allen too, those were the two women who kept me bolstered.”

When it comes to why she wasn’t accepted by the culture, Whoopi explains, “I looked too odd, and I knew lots of white people, and apparently you’re not supposed to. And, my God, I might have married a couple of them. It’s only in the last 10 years have people been like, ‘No, it’s really good, man, you’re all right.’ Like, thank you?”

You can read Whoopi’s full interview over at ESSENCE.com.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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