$35K For ‘The Color Purple’ Was The Best Money Oprah ‘Ever Earned’

Oprah Winfrey is reflecting on her Oscar-nominated performance in The Color Purple film and the low salary she took to land the iconic role.

It’s a full circle moment for the billionaire media mogul as she gears up for the premiere of a musical remake of the 1985 film she starred in alongside Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Avery, and Danny Glover. Winfrey serves as producer on The Color Purple musical 38 years after she first played Sofia in Steven Spielberg’s take on Alice Walker’s famed novel.

Winfrey recalls agreeing to the low $35,000 salary to play Sofia because she knew the role and film would be groundbreaking.

“I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me — a person who wanted nothing more in my life than to be in The Color Purple,’ Oprah shared in her Essence cover story.

“And God taught me to surrender — that was the big lesson for me. They were only offering $35,000 to be in this film, and it is the best $35,000 I ever earned. It changed everything and taught me so much. It is God moving through my life.”

Nearly 40 years later, the OWN creator could see another Oscar nomination after teaming back up with Spielberg to produce the new film alongside Scott Sanders and Quincy Jones.

Daniel Brooks takes on the role of Sofia in the musical film. It’s a role she was familiar with, having starred as Sofia in the Broadway musical and received a Tony nomination. The Orange Is The New Black star thanked Winfrey for “leaving space for me [on set] but also being there, to hold my hand and answer that phone call when I needed you.”

For Winfrey, producing the musical adaption of a film that changed her life and career for the better was a labor of love.

“To have all of you beautiful Black women bearing witness to the story, as the story moves forward, means so much,” Oprah said of the new film’s stars, Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Brooks, and H.E.R.

“I believe that what Fantasia has said is true: Everybody who comes to see our film is going to be touched. They will be moved. And they will be healed.”

RELATED CONTENT: The Color Purple’ Actresses Pay Homage To Original Movie Cast

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