A&T Alum Shines in Final Scene of Reimagined Movie Musical, “The Color Purple”

By Tonya Dixon / 12/22/2023 Student Affairs, Alumni, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Johnson, far right, enjoys a moment with producer Oprah Winfrey and castmates on the set of The Color Purple, on location in Savannah, Georgia.

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Dec. 22, 2023) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University professional theatre alumnus, former Mister A&T and Mister HBCU Reginald N. Johnson '13 has a featured role in what may well be the biggest movie release of 2023: “The Color Purple,” a star-studded musical reimagination of the classic 1985 film by the same name.

The film premieres nationwide on Christmas Day, and industry experts predict a huge debut, with advance sales driving box-office expectations steadily higher.

Johnson shines as the principal dancer in the final scene of the film, which is set to a reprise of the song, “The Color of Purple.” During the scene, the main character, Celie, performed by award-winning singer and actress Fantasia Taylor, finally gets her whole family to sit at the same dinner table in love and harmony.

“[The movie was] a very spiritual environment. It was a testament to the director [Blitz Bazawule] and the precedent that he set for this reimagined version,” said Johnson. “Fantasia is a huge inspiration for me, especially from her time on [American] Idol to all the work she is doing now. Growing up in North Carolina, she’s just an inspiration.”

In addition to Taylor, the film features Taraji P. Henson, who also attended A&T (before graduating from Howard), Whoopi Goldberg, Hallie Bailey, Ciara, Colman Domingo, David Alan Grier, Jon Batiste, Louis Gossett Jr., H.E.R and many others. Based on the novel by Alice Walker, the film is produced by Oprah Winfrey.


This is not Johnson’s first experience with The Color Purple: He also acted and danced in a stage version while an undergraduate at A&T.

In the 10 years since his graduation, he’s been busy as a professional actor and dancer. His highly visible role in the new film promises to open further doors. The climactic scene featuring Johnson is set in the 1930s and was filmed against the backdrop of picturesque Savannah, Georgia.

“It was a beautiful and spiritual experience all around,” said Johnson (shown here on set with Taraji P. Henson).

This isn’t the only connection A&T shares with the upcoming movie. During the university’s 2023 Homecoming, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, a team from film distributor Warner Bros recorded with the A&T Blue and Gold Marching Machine and included the band in a special trailer featuring A&T and 10 other HBCUs. BGMM, which last week won Best Division I HBCU Band in the Nation, also performed “Push the Button” from the movie soundtrack during halftime at the Greatest Homecoming on Earth.

Additionally, the current Mister and Miss North Carolina A&T, Marcus Scott Jr. and Torree Theodore, respectively, were selected to attend the movie’s purple carpet premiere, even participating as guest hosts at the event.

Pictures are available via Theodore’s Instagram account.

Media Contact Information: Jackie Torok

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