Written by | Ray Cornelius 

The Color Purple movie turns 30-years-old today and yours truly talked exclusively to one of the film’s most recognizable stars Maria Howell. You know her best as the “choir soloist” in that climactic scene when Shug Avery (Margaret Avery) storms into her father’s church as the prodigal daughter returning home and bringing down the house with a rousing performance of “God is Trying to Tell You Something.” It’s a movie scene I’ll never forget and one that made Howell a star.

I talked to the accomplished singer and film actress on Friday afternoon (in between flights) about The Color Purple‘s enduring legacy and why we still can’t get enough.  We also dished about her time on the set with iconic actors Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey and the lessons she learned from the film’s musical producer Quincy Jones and legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg.  

Howell also tells me her favorite lines from the movie, her thoughts about The Color Purple Musical and shares a very personal moment that took place during the film’s premiere that still brings her to tears.

Listen to the “unedited” interview below: