Youngstown Native in ‘The Color Purple’ Sets Screening Event

BOARDMAN, Ohio – A special screening of the film “The Color Purple,” which features Youngstown native and dancer Lindsay Renea Benton, will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 26 at Regal Cinema South.

Benton appears in a dance scene in the movie, which will be released Dec. 25 and stars Fantasia Barrino, Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson. Blitz Bazawule is the director; the producers include Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones.

The screening at Cinema South will be preceded by a “purple carpet” event that will start at 6 p.m. Benton will appear at the screening and will take photos with guests on the purple carpet.

She is the lead dancer in a prominent scene involving African dancers at the start of the movie.

“Blitz [Bazawule], the film’s director, is Ghanaian, and he prioritized authenticity as it relates to all the elements of our dance scene,” she said. “Our costuming and jewelry were all imported from Ghana. We wore beautiful Kente fabric, and our dance was from the Ashanti people, which is a tribe of the nation of Ghana.”

Her scene was shot on the beach on Jekyll Island, Ga., and Benton said that made the choreography challenging.

“The sandy surface changes as the tide comes in, and the lighting changes with the placement of the sun as the day wears,” she said. “We had to move along the shoreline. We were literally dancing with the water.”

“The Color Purple” is based on the famed Alice Walker novel. An upbeat musical, it is a sharp departure from the original 1985 film version, which was a somber drama.

The story takes place in the American South between 1909 and 1947. It follows the life of a young woman named Celie who leads a life of abuse at the hands of her father and husband.

Benton’s dance scene is set in Africa, where Celie’s sister is living. She is in only one scene in the movie but is the lead dancer.

A Georgia-based dancer, choreographer and educator who previously operated a dance school in Youngstown, Benton is no stranger to film work.

She appeared as a dancer in the 2021 movie “Coming 2 America,” starring Eddie Murphy, and was a choreographer for the opening of the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala.

The screening is being sponsored by Benton and her parents, Debórah and LaMarr Benton of Youngstown.

Debòrah Benton, who is a Valley television personality, said the anticipation has been building among her family and friends.

The family could not celebrate the release of “Coming 2 America” because Lindsay’s father was in the hospital at the time, and Covid-19 regulations were prohibiting public gatherings, she said.

Tickets to the screening event at Cinema South can be purchased in advance at the box office or by clicking HERE. The auditorium has approximately 300 seats.

Guests are asked to wear something purple to the event. Regal Cinema is providing mini posters for Benton to autograph for fans.

Following the screening, an after-party will take place at the Christmas Café, 7393 California Ave., across from Buffalo Wing Wings, Southern Park Mall. Pastries and beverages will be available for purchase. 

Pictured at top: Lindsay Renea Benton, center, in a dance scene in the upcoming film remake of “The Color Purple.”

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