Tika Sumpter Sparkle Tika Sumpter Sparkle

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 about 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.'

What special preparation did you do for the film?
Well, a good script is 90 percent of the battle, but of course, I looked at the era on YouTube, just people performing like Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell, The Supremes and the Marvettes. I did go to Motown, the record company, and the mood just brought you back to that time. I just wanted my character to be well-rounded and intelligent and know what's going on.

What was the most challenging part of playing Dolores?
I don't know if it was challenging but I was scared I wasn't going  to get the choreography [laughs]. The whole performance part is scary. I've done stage stuff before, so it was just that nervousness because it was in such a small amount of time we had to learn everything and record.

Well you nailed it so you don't have to worry about a thing! Any possibility you may take your singing or theatre career further?
Well, I'm doing it right now. I'm recording music and doing a show next month. I've done it before and I wanna do it in a bigger way, and this is the perfect storm for me to do it. No artist is just one thing. Actors wanna sing, singers wanna act, and I'm not gonna allow anybody to put me in a box because I'm from a singing family. My mom sings opera; my sisters were trained by my mom. It's just something that's in my family so why not use the gift that God gave me to show the world and share it?

It's kinda like art imitates life. You actually grew up in a real-life Sparkle family.
Ah, you're so right! And my mom loves going to red carpets with me so it's perfect.

What did you learn working from your on-screen mom Whitney?

VV: What did you learn working from your on-screen mom Whitney Houston?
TS: There's so many little nuggets, but one, always be humble. She has every right to not be if she didn't wanna be, like you know, she's Whitney Houston! That's what you would think but she's the opposite of what a diva would be. [I also learned to] just show humility and be open to learning. She was so vulnerable. She knew that this story kind of paralleled with hers and she was just an outstanding person. It's usually the people who act like they're ridiculously fantastic who've done the least and she's done a lot [but] is still the most humble person ever. She was happy to be there on set.

One thing I loved about your character was that she broke from the group to pursue medical school and music at the same, so she didn't really dabble with any guys. But if the script was changed and Dee was romantically involved with one of the male co-stars, who do you think she would've chosen?
[Laughs] That's such a funny question! Everybody's like, 'Dolores doesn't have a man,' and I'm like, 'Her man is her books!' They would have to write in a new character. Maybe we could take somebody from the original. It definitely wouldn't be Satin 'cause she would not even have that!

How about Levi?
Maybe in the beginning with how he was, but I don't know if Levi's her type. We would have to create a new character.

Another thing the fans are going to notice are your to-die-for abs. What is your secret?
Oh God, girl! I was in that gym trying my hardest 'cause when I saw those outfits, [I was like] 'Why am I in these ones like this?' and they were like, 'Because you have the figure to do it.' I was in the gym, trying to eat healthy and work out at least three times a week, but I'm definitely not as committed as the athletes in the Olympics. I wish I was!

Sparkle hits theaters Aug. 17.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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Vivica A. Fox Explains Past Hesitance Behind 'Two Can Play That Game' Script

In a new interview with Essence, actress Vivica A. Fox discussed how she initially turned down her role in Two Can Play That Game based on the script. The established entertainer said it's her mission to ensure that black people are positively portrayed onscreen, and noticed the aforementioned film's prose didn't live up to those standards.

"I think the reason why—no I know the reason why—I've been doing this for such a long time is that I fight," Fox said. "When we did Two Can Play That Game, I fought for the way we talked, walked, the way we loved each other." The Set It Off actress continued to state that she consistently declined Two Can Play That Game before signing on to play the lead role. "Because the script, when I first got it, I turned it down three times because it just wasn't a good representation of African-Americans, so I fought them on everything," she noted. "I want to make sure that the images of African-Americans are as positive and as true as they can possibly be."

In 2001, the romantic comedy debuted to fanfare, boasting an all-star cast of Morris Chestnut, Mo'Nique, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Union, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and more. Directed by Mark Brown (Barbershop, Iverson, How To Be A Player), Fox plays a career driven person named Shante Smith who navigates a curveball when her boyfriend Keith Fenton (Chestnut) cheats on her with a co-worker.

After its release, Two Can Play That Game raked in over $22 million at the box office.

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Actress Gabrielle Union attends the Being Mary Jane premiere, screening, and party on January 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET)
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BET To Unveil Edible Billboard For 'Being Mary Jane' Wedding Finale

As Being Mary Jane comes to an end, BET is willing to offer fans a taste of what's to come in the series finale.

The network has enlisted the help of Ayesha Curry, celebrity cook and cookbook author, to create an edible billboard that also doubles as a wedding cake. The sweet treat will commemorate Mary Jane's (played by Gabrielle Union) nuptials in the two-hour series finale.

On April 20 from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M. at Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal in New York, fans will be presented with the edible billboard. At the intersection of Ashland Place and Hanson Place, the closer Being Mary Jane enthusiasts get to the billboard the quicker they'll notice that the four-tiered wedding cake is created from individual boxes, each containing a slice of Curry's prized wedding cake.

All fans have to do is pull a box from the billboard, snap a picture for the 'Gram, take a bite and enjoy. Although lovers of the show won't be able to celebrate with Mary Jane herself, biting into a slice of her wedding cake, for free, is the next best thing.

Don't forget to tune into the series finale of Being Mary Jane on Tues. (April 23) at 8/7 c.

Also, check out what's to come on the series of Being Mary Jane below.

Save the date! 👰🏾It'll be worth the wait. Join us for the series finale of #BeingMaryJane TUES APR 23 8/7c only on @BET! pic.twitter.com/jEwkbC71OW

— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 29, 2019

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