Early in March, we reported that Oluwaseyi "Semi" Omooba exited production on the UK stage production of The Color Purple due to her making homophobic comments on social media in the past. For those unfamiliar, Omooba wrote a post on her Facebook page that read, "I do not believe you can be born gay, and I do not believe homosexuality is right."
Considering the fact that the main character, Celie, falls in love with another woman, Shug Avery, Omooba's past comments came back to haunt her and she was eventually cut from the role. In the aftermath of her firing, Omooba announced plans to sue her agency, Michael Garrett Associates, for religious discrimination.
Now, the author of the original text is giving her take on the firing. In a correspondence, sent on Thursday (Oct 10.), The Color Purple author, Alice Walker, explained how her iconic character of Celie came to be.
"It is safe to say, after a frightful life serving and obeying abusive men, who raped in place of ‘making love,’ my grandmother, like Celie, was not attracted to men,” Walker said. “She was, in fact, very drawn to my grandfather’s lover, a beautiful woman who was kind to her, the only grown person who ever seemed to notice how remarkable and creative she was. In giving Celie the love of this woman, in every way love can be expressed, I was clear in my intention to demonstrate that she too, like all of us, deserved to be seen, appreciated, and deeply loved by someone who saw her as whole and worthy.”
In addition to discussing the creation of Celie, Walker discussed Omooba's past remarks on homosexuality and how that would have impacted the role.
“Playing the role of Celie while not believing in her right to be loved, or to express her love in any way she chooses, would be a betrayal of women’s right to be free,” she said. “As an elder, I urge all of us to think carefully about what I am saying, even as you, Oluwaseyi Omooba, sue the theatre company for voiding your contract.”
Photo: Getty Images
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