Fantasia reflects on her journey and her drive in the music video for “Superpower (I),” the end-credits song in the new musical adaptation of The Color Purple.
In the video, the actress, who plays The Color Purple’s protagonist Celie in the movie, sings to her younger self, literally, since A.I. technology has created a version of Fantasia in her red dress that she wore when she sang “Summertime” on American Idol in 2004.
“Oh, my soul, you’re the reason I made it through,” she sings to her younger self over a fuzzy, midtempo backdrop of beats in a room filled with mirrors. In a particularly emotional moment, she sings, “I want the whole world to know, I was here.” Toward the end of the clip, they clasp hands.
Variety reports that the song, which The-Dream wrote, is shortlisted for the Best Original Song Oscar. Taylor Fauntleroy (Kid Cudi, Orville Peck) directed the clip.
“Not only is this a song that is so meaningful to the story of The Color Purple, it’s also a song that speaks to my personal life experience,” Fantasia said in a statement. “Celie is a character I hold close to my heart as I understand her profoundly. What an honor to have The-Dream write her song – our song – and I hope it moves you in the way it immensely moved me.”
She explained what the song meant to her in more depth in an interview with Variety. “I cried the whole second verse,” she said. “I said to The-Dream, ‘It’s almost like you met me before.’ I wanted to pick his brain because I wanted to know, ‘Why did you write it?’ He said, ‘I followed you through your good and your bad. I’m a Southern man. … I followed you and I believe that you had superpowers that you didn’t see back then.’ So it was hard for me to record that record because a lot of us don’t see our superpowers when we’re going through what we’re going through. But I see it now.”
Filmmaker Blitz Bazawule, who adapted the musical from its Broadway run (which was inspired by Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book), recently told Rolling Stone that it was the message of the movie that mattered to him, not awards. “I honestly do not pay attention to [nominations],” he said. “The work we did, I believe, is sacred healing work and that’s the metric that I’m most interested in.”