“Celie” More than an “Idol”
Photo Credit: Paul Kolnik
By Biko N. Poindexter-Hodge
Interview with Fantasia Barrino
FANTASIA MONIQUE BARRINO commonly known as Fantasia, is an American R&B/soul singer, Broadway and television actress who rose to fame as the winner of the third season of the television series American Idol in 2004. She has been nominated for eight Grammy Awards. After playing the part of Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple, she is cast to be in the film adaptation of the musical. She has won 11 awards and recently won the International Award of Excellence at the Barbados Music Awards. The Los Angeles Sentinel recently caught up with Fantasia and asked her about what upcoming projects are in store and her performance in The Color Purple.
Sentinel: “Hello Ms. Barrino, first it’s an honor and pleasure to be meeting you.”
Fantasia Barrino (FB): “Thank you and it’s a pleasure meeting you”
Sentinel: “How did you prepare for the role of Celi?”
FB: “I saw the movie before, and the director tricked me to see the performance, and I liked it, then the director invited me to be in the Broadway musical. I read the manual a lot, did a lot of studying, and rehearsed with Debbie Allen.”
Sentinel: “Have you had any real life experiences with characters like ‘Mr.? And if so, how did you deal with them?”
FB: “I have a lot of similarities with Celi, not being pretty enough and being talked down upon. People down talk to Celi, in the role I could identify more with Celi than with Mr.”
Sentinel: Since Whoppi Godberg originally played “Celi” in the movie did you ever ask her for advice on how to play “Celi”? And if so what kind of advice did she give you?
FB: “No, I didn’t ask Whoppi for any advice on how to play Celi. The directors challenged me on how to play the character of Celi.”
Sentinel: “Is there anything in particular that you like or disliked while playing the character Celi?”
FB: “In the beginning, I didn’t like that I couldn’t separate myself from the role of Celi. But I did like that Celi build her self-esteem and was a renaissance woman and dealt with all that came her way. She would turn the negative into a positive. I equipped Celi as a character while acting. But I would let Celi go to bed at night and let Fantasia live for the day.”
Sentinel: Where will Fantasia be or where do you hope to be 10 years from now?
FB: “Writing and producing other artists on the musical side and on a personal side to do Television and movies as well as continue on recording.”
Sentinel: What is the title of the March 2010 album and what can we expect from the album?
FB: “The CD is not yet titled. It is 95% completed, the CD will be aimed toward young, middle aged, mature fans. The CD will also have a Christian side to it. Everybody will be able to identify with the project.”
Sentinel: “What advice do you have for young girls/ women who want to become singers, would you advice them to try and go on “American Idol”?
FB: “Keep fighting, If you see Idol, go to Idol. It’s very, very hard to get into record companies. If that is your calling and what you’re destined to do, then do it. My first concert that I ever went to was KC & Jo-Jo and I met them in person and I told them I wanted to be a singer, and the best advice KC & Jo-Jo ever gave me was, ‘Keep going, keep fighting’ you have to be patient never give up the fight, stay hungry and patiently wait.”
Sentinel: “Well Ms. Barrino. And thank you so very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to
F.B.: “Thank you and you have a wonderful and blessed day.”
You can see Fantasia Barrino starring for three weeks only in Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple (The Musical about Love) at the Pantages Theatre from February 10-28. (Tickets can be purchased online at www.BroadwayLA.org, call 1-800-982-ARTS (2787) or in person at the Pantages Box Office- (The Box Office is open daily at 10AM) and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. For Groups of 10 or more, Call 866-755-3075 (Open 10am-5pm). You can also catch Fantasia Barrino’s reality show “Fantasia For Real” on Mondays at 10PM on VH1.