“Color Purple” Actress Explains Devastating Ways Being Raped Later Affected Her Life

Posted On : May 31, 2021
Desreta Jackson

“The Color Purple” is a definitely cult classic film, that’ll always hold a special place in the hearts of millions. There were many memorable characters in the movie and one of the most memorable, was ‘young Celie’- the younger version of Whoopi Goldberg’s character. That role was played by the amazing actress, Desreta Jackson. During that time in 1985, she earned her title as a true force to be reckoned with in Hollywood game. Sadly, what this Queen endured in REAL life, after the film was released, brought us to tears. Shortly after ‘The Color Purple” was released Desreta was raped and the details she gave are heart-wrenching.

Background On Where She Was BEFORE The Tragedy & “Color Purple”

Desreta Jackson moved to the U.S. from her homeland, The Virgin Islands, with her Mother when she was 9 years old. They had no money and were living on the streets of Los Angeles, Ca. in a homeless section, called Skid Row.

Her Mom Did What Was Necessary To Make Ends Meet

Her Mom collected aluminum cans to make ends meet and after about two years on the street, her mother was eventually able to afford an apartment for them to live in.

Desreta Took Acting To Avoid Streets

Desreta took part in her school’s play and soon after that, her Mother decided to keep her out of getting involved with gang activity, by enrolling her in acting lessons. Soon after that, Desreta landed the part on The Color Purple and it was a huge success.

The Tragedy Happened Shortly After “Color Purple”

Actresses, [L] Akosua Busia and [R] Desreta Jackson in “The Color Purple” film
Desreta revealed, in an interview with “California Soul TV,” that she was faced with some of the most horrific tragedy that happened to her after the success of “The Color Purple.” She was brutally raped.

“I was still a kid, it was right after Color Purple came out. I was new to Hollywood and…new in a lot of ways and young. And…the rape was very traumatic, it was a very violent situation,” Desreta said through a cracked voice.

Her Post-Traumatic Stress Incidents: “I Was Discombobulated”

After being raped, Desreta was “discombobulated”:

“I was so messed up…just an example of how emotional it was for me- I would [take two buses to school] and I didn’t know that I didn’t have shoes on, or I never did my hair, or that I only put a shirt on that day [and no pants].”

Strangers On The Street Would Have To Help Her

Desreta continued:

“So I took two buses [to school] mesmerized, or something traumatic…and somebody would stop me and let me know like, ‘Hey…are you okay?!!’ I walked into school like THIS!”

“You’re Too Dark”

Despite her pain, Desreta auditioned for more acting roles, then faced ignorant rejection in Hollywood. She was told she was ‘too dark’ for the roles she wanted. That left her confused, because as a child she didn’t realize she would be seen as ‘different’ because of her ‘complexion.’ Then She Revealed Another Tragedy…

Molestation & More Rejection

“The Color Purple” actress, Desreta Jackson

Desreta wasn’t “processing” that Hollywood was “casting according to color” at that time. That rejection made her delve further into the emotional baggage of not only being raped, but she then revealed she was also molested.

‘My Mom Didn’t Know How To Handle It’

“My mother wasn’t quite the kind of mother that didn’t know how to handle things. So she kind of just ignored it. So when the rape happened….it was just me, as a child trying to figure out” how to deal with that type of trauma, says Desreta.

“I Quit Acting” But Found Something Else

Desreta says the emotional baggage from her rape and molestation combined with the rejection was too much to bear as a child. So she quit acting at that time, but then light began to shine for her….

Martial Arts & A Chance Meeting Saved Her

After being violated, Desreta stumbled across the founder of the Black Karate Federation at a local community center, who was teaching martial arts. Innately feeling the need to build her confidence and protect herself, she joined the organization

It’s A New Day!!!

Today Desreta is highly trained at martial arts and is still a part of the Black Karate Federation. She owns her own Black hair products line. She’s the mother of two beautiful children and happily married. She is also BACK in the acting game! Her talent is impeccable and we wish her the best!