Margaret Avery is an American actress and singer. She began her career appearing on stage and later had starring roles in films including Cool Breeze (1972), Which Way Is Up? (1977), Scott Joplin (1977), and The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979). Avery is best known for her performance as Shug Avery in the 1985 period drama film The Color Purple for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She continued appearing in films including Blueberry Hill (1988), White Man's Burden (1995), Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008), Meet the Browns (2008), and Proud Mary (2018). From 2013 to 2019, Avery starred as Helen Patterson, lead character's mother, in the BET drama series Being Mary Jane.