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Did God Speak in Steven Spielberg's "The Color Purple?"

Updated on March 1, 2018
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Robert Odell, Jr. is a seasoned video analyst with several years of experience in the creation and observance of film and digital data.

Shug Avery of Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple

Margaret Avery portrays jazz singer Shug Avery in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple.
Margaret Avery portrays jazz singer Shug Avery in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple. | Source

God Is Trying to Tell You Something

In a dynamic scene near the end of Steven Spielberg's 1985 winter blockbuster The Color Purple, the character Shug Avery engages in a soul stirring rendition of a gospel song called "God Is Trying To Tell You Something."

The song begins with the deep melodic line "Speak Lord." As the slow, rhythmic drone increases in speed and intensity we can see the seemingly complicated and unsolvable issues in the lives of Shug and others being worked out by a power much higher than themselves. It seems, just as the song implies, God is speaking and trying to tell something to everyone.


In a dynamic scene near the end of Steven Spielberg's 1985 winter blockbuster The Color Purple, the character Shug Avery engages in a soul stirring rendition of a gospel song called God Is Trying To Tell You Something.
In a dynamic scene near the end of Steven Spielberg's 1985 winter blockbuster The Color Purple, the character Shug Avery engages in a soul stirring rendition of a gospel song called God Is Trying To Tell You Something. | Source

God Has Been Speaking

According to the Holy Bible, God has been speaking to mankind from the very beginning of his existence. The Senior Pastor of Christ For All Church (CFAC) in Memphis, TN explains some of the ways that God speaks to man.

GOD SPEAKS:

  • Through His Holy Word; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).
  • By An Audible Voice; (Especially in times of utmost importance or urgency)
  • Through Angles; (Daniel 9:21-22)
  • Through Dreams and Visions; (Genesis 37:5-10; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel, chapters 2 and 7; Matthew 1:20; 2:13,19; and Acts 10:9-16; 16:9)


Revelation 3:20, from the Holy Bible, indicates that God wants to have fellowship with and wants to speak to mankind.
Revelation 3:20, from the Holy Bible, indicates that God wants to have fellowship with and wants to speak to mankind. | Source

Prodigal Daughter

The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress and loves to sport men.

Shug's father, also the town preacher, is disappointed at Shug’s decision to be a traveling blues singer. He is also appalled at her promiscuity.

Like most girls, Shug longs for a relationship with her father. Her father; however, reacts as if his daughter is completely lost. He does not even look her way or acknowledge her presence when she returns to town to live with her old flame Albert, a wealthy, young, local widower.

Before Shug's arrival; Albert, for convenience, had taken on a young woman named Celie as his wife. Although he tries to cater to Shug's every whim, Albert abuses Celie and forces her to clean house and care for his unruly children.

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The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men.The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men.
The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men.
The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men. | Source
The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men.
The character Shug Avery in The Color Purple can be described as a prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32). Shug is portrayed as a woman of the world who loves to party, loves to dress, and loves to sport men. | Source

Passionate Sequence

In a passionate sequence near the end of Spielberg's film we see Shug performing in a "juke joint" owned by Harpo, the oldest son of Albert aka "Mister."

Shug is performing a soulful and sensuous song called "Sista" which is aimed at raising the self-confidence of Ceile who has now become a close friend.

The country church, were Shug's father is a pastor, is within ear shot distance of Harpo's juke joint.

Members in the church congregation can her the music coming from the juke joint and subsequently suggest that the church should sing the anointed song "God Is Trying To Tell You Something."

The pastor turns to where the choir is and says, "...sing 'God Is Trying To Tell You Something.'"


What Does It Mean to Be Anointed?

According to gotquestions.org: "The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep's head, they could burrow into the sheep's ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep's head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep's ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment."

On many occasions the word anointing is used to emphasize spiritual blessings, protection, and empowerment from God.

Anointing is symbolic of spiritual:

Blessings

Protection and

Empowerment

The Anointed Song

As the church choir begins to sing the song, "God Is Trying To Tell You Something," the impactful melody and lyrics flow out of the church and inundate the whole area of Harpo's Juke Joint.

The sound causes the singing and revelry of the juke joint to halt and tugs at the very heart of self-confessed, sinning, jazz artist, Shug.

The song is so anointed that the band has to stop playing.

God seems to be speaking to Shug and calling her to make amends with Him, herself, and her father.

In a scene near the end of The Color Purple we see Shug performing in a "juke joint" owned by Harpo, the oldest son of Albert aka "Mister."
In a scene near the end of The Color Purple we see Shug performing in a "juke joint" owned by Harpo, the oldest son of Albert aka "Mister." | Source
Shug has to stop singing when she hears an anointed song coming from her father's nearby church.
Shug has to stop singing when she hears an anointed song coming from her father's nearby church. | Source

The sound of an anointed song coming from a nearby church causes the singing and revelry of Harpo's Juke Joint to halt and tugs at the very heart of self-confessed, sinning, jazz artist, Shug Avery.

The sound of an anointed song coming from a nearby church causes the band at Harpo's Juke joint to stop playing.
The sound of an anointed song coming from a nearby church causes the band at Harpo's Juke joint to stop playing. | Source

The band and all who are at the juke joint cannot help but pay attention to the powerful melody and lyrics of the anointed song emanating from the little country church.

Shug tries to continue singing, but the anointing is so strong on the song that she cannot continue to sing what she wants to sing. She is forced to stop and listen to what the words of the song coming from the church are saying.

Path to the Church

As the song "God Is Trying To Tell You Something" continues to play, everyone suddenly, with Shug leading the way, makes a straight forward path toward the church. Shug cannot help from being drawn to her father's nearby church, from where the anointed song "God is Trying To Tell You Something" is emanating.

Shug cannot help from being drawn to her father's nearby church, from where the anointed song "God is Trying To Tell You Something" is emanating.
Shug cannot help from being drawn to her father's nearby church, from where the anointed song "God is Trying To Tell You Something" is emanating. | Source

As if he hears God telling him to do so, Shug's father, after years of separation, openly accepts and recognizes her. Their lost relationship has been found as they embrace with tears of forgiveness.

As if he hears God telling him to do so, Shug's father openly accepts and recognizes her.

In tears of forgiveness, as if God was telling them to do so, Shug and her father are reconciled after years of separation.
In tears of forgiveness, as if God was telling them to do so, Shug and her father are reconciled after years of separation. | Source

Did God Speak?

How Do You Interpret The Church Scene In The Color Purple?

See results

Bibliography

The Color Purple. Dir. Steven Spielbergg. Perf. Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Adolph Caesar, Rae Dawn Chong, and Whoopi Goldberg. Amblin, Guber-Peters, WB, 1985. Film.

© 2015 Robert Odell Jr

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