Jon Batiste to Make Acting Debut in ‘The Color Purple’

Singer, songwriter, and composer Jon Batiste will make his acting debut in the upcoming remake of The Color Purple.

Videos by American Songwriter

Directed by Blitz Bazawule, the film is adapted from the 1982 novel by Alice Walker, and will feature Batiste in the role of Grady, the husband of character Shug Avery, played by Taraji P. Henson. In the film, focused on the character of Celie, a southern black woman finding her place in the early 1900s, Grady is the charming “piano man.”  

The film is also set to star H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, Ciara, Elizabeth Marvel, David Alan Grier, Deon Cole, Stephen Hill, Louis Gossett Jr., Aunjanue Ellis, Tamala J. Mann, and Phylicia Pearl Mpasi.

In 1985, Steven Spielberg released the first film adaptation of The Color Purple starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Danny Glover. Batiste, who serves as bandleader for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, recently picked up five Grammy awards for Best Music Video for “Freedom” and Album of the Year for his eighth album WE ARE, and an Oscar for Best Original Score for the Disney animated film Soul in 2020.

On April 1, 2022, Batiste served as artistic director with Brandi Carlile for the 31st annual MusiCares Person of the Year benefit gala honoring Joni Mitchell.

“I’m very proud of Album of the Year because it’s not about ‘He’s this guy who makes R&B or classical music or jazz’ or whatever,” said Batiste of his Grammy wins. “It’s ‘He made this body of expression, and we believe that it’s worth being recognized.’ I love the fact that you got folks like Tony Bennett, who is in his 90s, nominated and it’s not about age. It’s not about race. It’s not about gender.”

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

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