Celebrating Artistry: Taraji P. Henson’s Journey with The Color Purple’s Vocal Coach

In a resonant ode to artistic collaboration, Taraji P. Henson unveils the meticulous journey behind her compelling portrayal of Shug Avery in The Color Purple musical. Through an intimate Instagram post and a revealing video, Henson sheds light on the pivotal role played by her vocal coach, Stevie Mackey, in crafting the vocal nuances that breathe life into her character.

Unlocking Vocal Mastery

captures the essence of Henson’s commitment as she immerses herself in rehearsals with the acclaimed vocal maestro, Stevie Mackey. The footage reveals Henson flawlessly rendering excerpts from “What About Love?,” her anthem from The Color Purple, while receiving nuanced corrections from Mackey. This behind-the-scenes synergy underscores the dedication invested in perfecting Henson’s vocal delivery for the enigmatic Shug Avery.

A Gracious Tribute

In an Instagram homage, Henson expresses profound gratitude to Mackey, dubbing him “the man behind #ShugAveryvoice.” She attributes her newfound vocal dimensions to Mackey’s expertise, emphasizing his indispensable role in shaping her performance. This heartfelt acknowledgment resonates with appreciation for Mackey’s pivotal contribution to Henson’s vocal prowess.

Reception and Recognition

Amidst a triumphant theatrical run, Henson’s rendition of Shug Avery has earned widespread acclaim. While the Golden Globes may have overlooked her, early award buzz hints at potential recognition for Best Supporting Actress in other prestigious ceremonies. The collective praise positions Henson as a standout performer within The Color Purple’s ensemble.

Navigating the Challenges

Facing the challenge of performing alongside seasoned vocalists like Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks, Henson’s portrayal of Shug Avery stands out for its emotive delivery and vocal strength. Despite the competition, the ensemble, including Halle Bailey, navigates the intricate musical landscape with finesse, seamlessly blending acting and musical prowess.

A Strong Ensemble

The Color Purple’s ensemble, featuring Henson, Barrino, Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins, and Halle Bailey, has garnered acclaim for its collective strength. With notably higher Rotten Tomatoes scores compared to Steven Spielberg’s original, the musical adaptation captivates audiences and critics alike, establishing the cast as a harmonious force.


Taraji P. Henson’s commitment to perfecting her role as Shug Avery unveils the collaborative spirit that fuels artistic excellence. As The Color Purple continues to enrapture audiences, Henson and her co-stars shine not only as individual talents but also as a harmonious ensemble. Stevie Mackey’s influence on Henson’s vocal brilliance adds an additional layer of appreciation for the collaborative effort behind the scenes, making The Color Purple an immersive and unforgettable experience for audiences globally.

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