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Vixen Chat: Tika Sumpter Dishes on Her Role In ‘Sparkle,’ Whitney Houston and Her Abs

Tika Sumpter doesn’t follow the mold. The singer/actress/model may be easy on the eyes but she has the talent to shock and awe. In her latest endeavor, Sumpter plays the headstrong pre-med student who treats performing as her side hustle in the 1960s musical flick Sparkle.

Vixen caught up with the multidimensional starlet to talk her real-life singing family, working with Whitney Houston and maintaining her killer physique.

VIBE VIXEN: When you landed a spot in the cast of Sparkle, what was your initial reaction?
TIKA SUMPTER: I read the script at first and I kept saying I want this part, I wanna be a part of this movie. I put myself on tape and then I had to go to L.A. to meet the producers and all that. When they told me I got it, I was floored. I literally laid on the floor and cried. When you hear that one of your favorite artists is gonna be in the film, you’re like, What?! Whitney Houston’s gonna play my mom?! So many people auditioned for this film for every part, so I was grateful that I worked hard for it and they gave it to me.

What about the script attracted you the most?
It’s just well thought-out. I heard in the original that [my character] Dee [Dolores], she wasn’t really relevant in it at first, so with this, I felt like I played a part where she was and she had a voice. She was strong and independent and thinks she knows everything but also loves her family and would do and say anything for them. She’s kind of a protector, and I love that about her and her strength. She doesn’t really care what people think. She’s like, ‘Look, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do even if you don’t like it.’

Read the full interview at VIBE Vixen.

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White Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Running Over Black Teenager

A white man who ran over and killed a black teenager with his car in Oregon in 2016 was sentenced to life in prison for his crime. The decision marks Oregon’s first hate crime murder conviction in 30 years.

According to The Oregonian, Russell Orlando Courtier will not only serve time for killing 19-year-old Larnell Bruce Jr., he adds an additional four-year term to his sentence for a bar attack in 2015. He will have to serve a minimum of 28 years before he’s eligible for release.

Per the report, Courtier and Bruce got into a fistfight outside of a 7-11 in August 2016. Prosecutors do not know what prompted the fight between Bruce and the 40-year-old.

“Courtier was a member of a white supremacist prison gang [“European Kindred”] and was wearing the gang’s logo on his baseball cap and had it tattooed on one of his legs when he encountered Bruce outside the convenience store,” The Oregonian writes.  “A moment later, surveillance video captured Bruce sprinting down a nearby street and then a sidewalk in a desperate attempt to get away from Courtier and the Jeep.”

During the trial, witnesses say that they heard Colleen Hunt, Courtier’s then-girlfriend and passenger in the Jeep, yell “Run him over!” and “Get him, baby!” She pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the case, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

“[Bruce’s] family also has started a nonprofit organization -- Love and Live #LarnellBruce Foundation -- to help victims of hate crimes and their families get through the enormous anger and loss that results from such crimes,” The Oregonian concludes.

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LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige And More Appear In American Cancer Society Campaign

Hip-hop and R&B heavyweights and legends such as LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Remy Ma, Salt N’ Pepa, Jhene Aiko and more appear in the newest campaign for the American Cancer Society. The campaign and message is clear: “Beat Cancer Like A Boss.”

The video features Meek Mill’s “I’m A Boss,” and the stars featured in the video send encouraging messages to those battling the disease about what it means to use your inner boss to beat it.

“Boss is battling cancer my finding your inner strength,” Simone I. Smith, LL’s wife of 24 years, says in the video. “Cancer left its mark, but it couldn’t beat the boss within.” Smith was diagnosed with stage III chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in 2004. Today, she celebrates nearly 15 years of being cancer-free.

“With the help of ACS and a few friends, this campaign was created to empower women to lean onto their support system and tap into their strength to ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ a message I carried with me throughout my journey to recovery,” said Smith in a statement.

More info about the “Beat Cancer Like A Boss” campaign can be found at cancer.org. Watch the video above.

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HBCUs Got To Watch Beyonce's 'Homecoming' At Exclusive Screenings

Thanks to Beyonce and the good people at Netflix, HBCUs were able to watch the artist’s highly-anticipated release of her documentary, Homecoming, at advanced, on-campus screenings.

“Homecoming is nothing but fun, laughs, and amazingness,” one fan in attendance said in a video of the various screenings. They took place at Howard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Texas Southern University.

"More than anything it uplifted HBCUs and it empowered HBCUs,” another fan continued in the brief clip.

During the documentary, which was released on Wednesday (April 17), Beyonce discusses her appreciation of HBCUs, stating in the doc, “there is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”

See some reactions from students at these HBCUs below.

"More than anything it uplifted HBCUs and it empowered HBCUs."

Last night, #BeyoncéHomecoming took over @SpelmanCollege, @Morehouse, @TexasSouthern, and @HowardU. pic.twitter.com/CnzsIMAqHh — Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) April 17, 2019

The line is lit as we anticipate the doors opening for our exclusive, early campus @Netflix screening of #Homecoming, a film by Beyoncé. pic.twitter.com/WUTBykukD8

— Howard University (@HowardU) April 17, 2019

Beyonce showing love to other hbcu’s besides spelman, Howard & morehouse is why she’s the goat

— ManiLou💛 (@y0urfav3emani) April 17, 2019

Beyoncé wore, and more importantly OWNS Morehouse gear. that’s it, that’s the tweet.

— capricorn hoodrat (@notoriouslang) April 17, 2019

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