The Finest of Originality and Grace- Sassing It Up with Margaret “SHUG” Avery
The art of seduction, classic moves, trendsetting grace and roaring 60’s juke joint attire belongs to the character Shug Avery portrayed by Margaret Avery in The Color Purple’s 1985 version. Avery best known for some of her comedic roles took on this character based off the book written by Alice Walker and turned her in to what she didn’t know at the time would be a staple in the black culture. From her seductive walk to her beautiful skin, Shug Avery was what is now known in 2024 as the “It Girl”.
Recently, Margaret sat down with UPSCALE to discuss what made her take on the role of Shug Avery and how she feels about the new adaptation of the film. In her interview with UPSCALE, she indicated the things that occurred during filming and how no one really anticipated a high level of success due to the nature of all the things that were going on in the world at that time. Avery goes in to even more depth to discuss the relationship between the characters Celie and Shug and how back then same sex relationships were taboo. Avery indicated that she personally felt like the relationship between the two women wasn’t necessary that of a sexual nature, but a deep level of friendship as to helping Celie come alive in her womanhood and embrace her femininity.
In the 2023 version of The Color Purple Margaret’s character is played by none other than Tarji P. Henson. Avery became overwhelmed with Joy when discussing what an amazing job she thought Tarji did with the role, stating that she felt as though Tarji took on just the right amount of sass to bring this version of Shug a new feeling for the new generation. The film that was released almost thirty years ago is relatable today and those once taboo relationships are very much on the frontline and more out in the open than they were during that era; thus, making it easier to embody the character of Shug Avery.
While Ms. Avery is excited and supporting The Color Purple’s screenings and current press, she’s also been working on other ventures near and dear to her heart which include counseling and making others aware of the mental health issues out there today. The support of others and their wellbeing is just like the character she played in 1985, as she is offering support on the screen and off the screen.
We are so delighted that Ms. Avery has been able to stay relevant and spread all the love, wisdom, and encouragement to the world. Her iconic portrayal of Shug Avery truly set the tone and epitome for women walking in their purpose and blocking out the naysayers, as well as owning your sexuality with class. Here’s to Ms. Avery as she has truly been on our minds since 1985. Make sure to follow her on social media and all other platforms and continue to support her movement.