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Tika Sumpter (@iamtikasumpter) Opens Up About The Late Whitney Houston And “Sparkle”

Tika Sumpter at Sparkle premiere

This past Friday, the summers most anticipated movie “Sparkle”  was released on  DVD.  If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it tells the story of  musical prodigy, Sparkle played by, Jordin Sparks as she struggles to become a star while overcoming issues that are tearing her family apart. From an affluent Detroit area and daughter to a single mother (Whitney Houston), she tries to balance a new romance with music manager Stix (Derek Luke) while dealing with the unexpected challenges of her new life. Sparkle forms a trio with her two sisters (Carmen Ejogo and Tika Sumpter) to strive to become a dynamic singing group during the Motown-era.

Kontrol Magazine had the honor of interviewing Tika Sumpter, who plays Delores in the flim, opens up about the late Whitney Houston and Sparkle. Tika is no stranger to the spotlight, as she has been seen on “One Life To Live” and having a reoccurring role Season 4 on “Gossip Girls”.


When you first auditioned for the role in Sparkle did you read for Delores?

Tika Sumpter: I did, when I first heard about the part, Delores was the person/ choice for me to go in and audition for. I put myself on tape and had to go to L.A., the studio knew my potential and what I had already done. I just had to meet Debra Martin Chase and from there that was it.


How did you feel when you found out you landed the role of Delores?

TS: I was so happy, when you find out you’re going to be in a movie, you’re like wow, just blown away. The whole experience was also a chance for me to show more of my skills and what I do acting wise. I feel like getting the role was a compliment. It allowed more people to know about me as well as my peers. It was a great opportunity all around


You’ve worked with a lot of actor/actresses before, what made this set special and different?

TS: The set literally felt like one big family, this wasn’t a big budget movie, it was like the little train that could, and everyone was in it for the work. I just wanted it to be the best it could possibly be. The challenge was, it was a classic movie that people loved. We updated it a bit and most people liked it. I was very proud of what we did…from a family feeling on set, we were able to portray sisters, mothers, and daughters on screen.


This remake was the most anticipated movie of the year, do you feel like it lived up to that?

TS: I don’t listen to anyone or anything that says “most anticipated” because that’s giving anything a little too much power. If it doesn’t work out, you’re like ok, who anticipated it? So I think that my focus, everyone’s focus on set was making sure that everyone did the best they could and I thought the script was great and I definitely think we did a great job. I don’t know about the most anticipated but I definitely lived up to a lot of people’s expectation. I’m sure other people hated it. Everyone’s going to have an opinion especially nowadays and they’re going to voice it. For the most part I’ve been hearing good feedback. For me all it was about the work, I loved the characters, the lines; I had to show up and be Delores.


How did you feel about the changing of the ending?

TS: I thought it was a good idea, the older version was very deep and dark, this one was little dark but still with a lot of light. It touched on issues that people deal with today. *Laughing* I did like that somebody else had to die not the sister who I adore.


How was it working with Whitney?

TS: From the moment she came in from the table read, to us being in set with her and watching her sing, getting goose bumps and tears in our eyes the minute she opened her mouth, and our relationship that flourished on set. She really acted like a mom to all of us and taking us under her wing, she wanted us to excel and be great. She was awesome to work with and I’m so excited and glad that I got a chance to be a part of her world even if only for those few months.  It will always be something I take away from and I will always remember those brief conversations we ever had, anything that we shared. Not many people can say that they’ve worked with Whitney Houston. I’m just glad she left her heart out there with this film, it was her baby.  I’m glad she made it, sad that she didn’t get to see it. It’s bittersweet.

Sparkle is definitely a gift that should be given this Christmas season. Pick it up at a retailer near you!