Until You Do Right: Elizabeth Banks And White Film Critic Get Dragged For Dismissing 'The Color Purple's' Significance

Banks forgot (or didn't know) about the classic American film. 

Elizabeth Banks was loud and wrong. The actress who’s graced us with roles in The MuppetsMagic Mike XXLRobot Chicken and The 40-Year-Old Virgin was recently honored by Women in Film.

For her speech, she decided to have a Patricia Arquette moment and advocate for more women leads in film.

“I went to Indiana Jones and Jaws and every movie Steven Spielberg ever made, and by the way, he’s never made a movie with a female lead. Sorry, Steven. I don’t mean to call your ass out but it’s true,” Banks told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as reported by The Wrap.

Unfortunately, before she could finish her rousing speech, someone let her know that in 1985 Spielberg directed The Color Purple, to which Banks “moved on.”

It should be noted that out of the 30 feature films Spielberg has made, three of them have had female leads: The Sugarland Express (1974) starring Goldie Hawn, The Color Purple (1985) starring Whoopi Goldberg, and last year’s The BFG starring child actress Ruby Barnhill. Spielberg is also directing The Papers starring Meryl Streep, due in 2018.

But out of all three female-led films, The Color Purple is the most iconic telling the harrowing story of a Black woman escaping oppression in a post-reconstruction South. It was also Oprah Winfrey‘s acting debut. And Banks seeing “every movie” Spielberg’s made, but forgetting this one, is a blatant reminder that White women often don’t consider the double-plight of Black women, our accomplishments and our stories.

Once the news made itself to Twitter, movie critic Anne Thompson doubled down on Banks’ mistake by allegedly saying The Color Purple was a flop— a tweet she’s since deleted.

And that’s where Twitter went off. 

 

 

 

For the record, The Color Purple —despite its low first-weekend sales— was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won an Emmy. Its budget was $15 million but globally grossed $146 million. And despite certain critics’ poor reviews at the time, it’s considered a classic film in the African American community. 

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[MUSIC] Hi, this is Yolanda Sangweni and Essence Live, and I'm here with the cast of The Color Purple, Jennifer, Danielle, and Cynthia. I can already feel the sisterhood. Can you feel it? Yeah! And you hear like the song thirty? That's right. Yeah, and you know The Color Purple means so much to each and every one of us, the movie, the actual book. Tell me about how you interact with The Color Purple, even if it's the book or the actual film Well you know what's crazy is I started out every journal entry with Dear God now because of the book, because of this journey I'm about to take. And it's actually the first broadway show that I ever saw, I was 15 years old and it changed my life and made me want to become an actress and be an artist. So it really means a lot to now step into the role of Sophia. That Oprah originated and start my first Broadway debut with these women, who are doing their first Broadway debut, it's exciting. Yeah. Yeah. Well I don't know, for me, I guess Color Purple is something you can not detach It's like once you've seen in it, once you've tapped in to it, it's a part of you. And I think just being a woman alone makes you interact with it and walk away with something from it like the power and the- The positivity to me that Sug brings or the strength that Sophia has. Celie, [UNKNOWN] she's like the base of it all. So it's like all of those things, it somehow becomes instilled in you, and you carry it with you. And I think that's why it's still here today. I feel like everyone Essence, the office is always like, You told Harpo to bite you? No! [LAUGH] There's these lines that stay with you for years now. Right. Yeah. How many times have you seen the movie? Oh, a hundred. This movie, whenever it comes on, you watch it. [CROSSTALK] And you know it's musical so Jennifer and Cynthia [INAUDIBLE] you're gonna be singing in this. Yes, I'm planning something yes I am. [CROSSTALK] So we're gonna get to see you singing? Yes Ma'am. You will. Yes. We are so ready. Thank you. Cynthia, what tips have you given to Jennifer and Danielle? Because it's going to be a whole different life! 8 shows a week? You live a little bit like a monk. And you just have to basically just take care of yourself. We will take care of each other. I will make sure that I will try to help as much as I can. And just look after one another. We look after each other. That is the main thing about it I always say that once you have each other's back you can't go wrong. And the beauty is we're gonna have yours too being that she's from London. You know what I mean? Yes. We'll be your family here. Yes! The Wayfun family. She likes us too. The Color Purple the musical coming to Broadway November 9. Oh, previews. Sorry. We got you! [MUSIC]