Over forty years after Alice Walker’s award-winning novel The Color Purple was released, a second film iteration will be coming soon. Produced by Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Steven Spielberg, the Tony award-winning Broadway musical version of the novel will be heading to the big screen Christmas Day.
While Spielberg directed Winfrey and other cast members, which include Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Laurence Fishbourne, in the 1985 Academy Award-nominated film adaptation of the novel, the directorial torch has been passed on to Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule. He with take the reins in the upcoming The Color Purple, which stars Fantasia Barrino, Halle Bailey, Taraji P. Henson, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins and Deon Cole.
Here are seven interesting facts about Blitz.
Bazawule, known as Blitz the Ambassador, was born in Accra, Ghana, and rose to prominence in the American hip-hop scene in the mid-2000s before moving into directing.
Blitz’s directorial debut, which was his 2018 filmThe Burial of Kojo, received consideration by the Golden Globes for a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It was also notably the first Ghanaian film to ever be considered for a Golden Globe nomination. The film was also the first original Ghanaian film to be featured on Netflix.
Blitz Bazawule via Instagram
In 2015, Blitz received the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Contemporary Music. The Vilcek Prize is awarded to immigrants who have made great contributions to the US in the areas of the arts and sciences. The Vilcek Foundation also published a manga biography about Bazawule and his achievements.
Bazawule published his debut novel in 2022 titled The Scent of Burnt Flowers. The novel follows a Black couple fleeing persecution in the 1960s and seeking asylum in Ghana. The novel is being adapted into a six-episode miniseries on FX starring Yahya Abdul Mateen II.
After having a hard time getting signed to a major music label to release his album titled Stereotype, he created his own independent label Embassy MVMT.
Blitz was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in honor of his work on The Burial of Kojo.
Blitz is notable for directing Beyonce’s Black is King in 2020. The project was a visual companion to Beyonce’s album The Lion King: The Gift. He received an NAACP Image Award nomination for his work on the project.
We look forward to seeing The Color Purple and more from Blitz. Check out the trailer for the new The Color Purple movie below: