*Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her third novel, “The Color Purple,” which was made into an internationally popular film by Steven Spielberg.
Her other best-selling novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages, include “By the Light of My Father’s Smile,” “Possessing the Secret of Joy” and “The Temple of My Familiar.”
Her most recent novel, “Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart,” was published in 2004. Ms. Walker is also the author of several collections of short stories, essays and poems as well as children’s books. Her work has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.
An activist and social visionary, Ms. Walker has been a participant in most of the major movements of planetary change, among them the Human and Civil Rights Movement in the South, the Hands Off Cuba Movement, the Women’s Movement, the Native American and Indigenous Rights Movement, the Free South Africa Movement, the Environmental and Animal Rights Movement and the Peace Movement. Her advocacy on behalf of the dispossessed has, in the words of her biographer, Evelyn C. White, “spanned the globe.”
Here, Alice talks about “The Color Purple,” the book, the movie and the play which is back on Broadway, beginning with preview performances on Tuesday, November 10th at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street). The show will officially open on Thursday, December 10th.
RT: How did you originally feel about The Color Purple being adapted to film? Are there other works of yours that you would like to see on the silver screen?
AW: I was skeptical. I’d never seen a film out of Hollywood especially that had people of color in it that I respected absolutely. Yes, but I’d want the screen to think of itself in another color than that of money. Couldn’t resist that one! “Possessing the secret of Joy” would make an amazing film and help the healing of the peoples of the world, many who suffer because of female genital mutilation without knowing they’re affected, since they themselves might not have been cut. And it would make an absorbing story of how human beings can search out the origins of their misfortunes and sufferings and begin healing themselves, whether movies are made about them or not.
RT: Do you have plans to continue the story of Celie in a Color Purple 2?
AW: I prefer to write a family of novels, rather than “sequels” in this case, “The Color Purple,” “The Temple of My Familiar,” “And Possessing the Secret of Joy” comprised that “family”. Celie and Shug, now happily married, before it was “legal” of course, appear in the “The Temple of My Familiar”.
RT: What was the key motivation for The Color Purple?
AW: Love of my grandparents whose lives are honored in the novel. I lived with them when I was an 8 year-old. It also intrigued me that my grandfather was married to my step-grandmother, but loved someone else. I was struck writing the novel to realize that many things change, but rarely the heart.
RT: What do you most want women in the diaspora to take away from your collection of essays, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens?
AW: Whatever helps them grow closer to who they really are… Gathering up all their ancestral sorrows and joys and walking onward in appreciation and light. Having some sense of our freedoms being deeply longed for by countless generations of black women who possessed none of them.
RT: As a longstanding activist against injustice, would you mind commenting on entrenched structural, institutionalized racism in America? How do we truly change the heart of our society?
AW: American society is incredibly twisted and unwell. At this point I would suggest withdrawing from it as much as possible. This will take many meetings of like-minded folks to figure out how this is done. I’m not suggesting seceding from the union physically, as was attempted in the sixties when the republic of New Africa tried to take over five southern states, but physically; we must find a way to raise our children in a better environment than American mainstream culture offers. It’s possible American has no heart to change. You might read the inexpressibly important book by Eward E. Baptist “The Half Has Never Been Told,” about slavery as the foundation of modern capitalism, to understand the evil upon which our so-called “civilization” rests, and how little this has changed. It seems likely that a diet of greed and countless generations has made many Americans heavy with soullessness. And they’re happy to be that way. Take a look at certain presidential hopefuls.
RT: What matters most to you at this point in your journey?
AW: Being free enough to pick up kindling for a fire I build myself.
RT: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
AW: That humans could be more like the other animals of the planet, secure in the knowing they are perfect as they are; just as they were made.
2015 Black Label MKC
Already well-known for its high-end wheels, the venerable Lincoln brand takes things a step further with a new line of rides that are being introduced under its recently introduced Black Label program. Unlike other “high-gloss” programs offered by auto manufacturers seeking to attract an uber patronage, the Black Label program offers an experience that is personalized and exclusive to each car buyer. (This program offers a four-year 50,000-mile premium maintenance plan is included that covers all maintenance and wear, including free car washes and an annual detailing.) My interests were peaked, to say the least and I looked forward to my drive.
Wow Factor: Designed with the intent to offer a real first-class driving/riding experience, the Black Label MKC is highly functional, responsive and oh so good looking. It’s a show piece ride plain and simple, that everyone will gawk at and want to get behind its wheels.
Ride: Not surprisingly, the Black Label MKC offers a driving experience that is smooth as silk. Armed with a new 2.3-liter EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 285 horsepower and 305 pound-feet of torque, it’s got more than enough power to get the job done. Other notable features includes an equally smooth 6-speed transmission, plus sharp steering to really enhances the driving experience.
Comfort: With first class leather, wood and other interior trimmings, the MKC will earn high marks even from the most discerning drivers. Even more importantly, the MKC Black Label offers great leg and head space (in both the front and rear cabins), with solid seats that are sturdy and comfortable.
Spin Control: Needless to say the MKC Black Label is a ride targeted at a certain market segment. (It has upwardly mobile urban professional written all over it.) Even with a base price in the mid-40s, Lincoln can be sure that many drivers will join its fold.
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