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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Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.


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A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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Gabe Solis, the ex-husband of Trina Braxton, lost his battle with cancer, Thursday (Dec. 20),  TMZ reports. He was 43.

Solis passed away at his home in Texas, surrounded by friends and family, according to the outlet. No official details have been released about his passing.

Solis had reportedly been keeping his cancer battle private. His death came as a shock to his loved ones. On Friday (Dec. 21), Braxton seemingly mourned the loss of her ex-husband with a cryptic Instagram meme reading, “I need a hug..E bottle of wine.”

The former couple tied the knot in 2003, and appeared together on previous seasons of WEtv’s Braxton Family Values. Despite finalizing their divorce in 2015, Braxton and Solis confronted lingering issues from their marriage during an episode of Iyanla: Fix My Life, earlier in the year.

Braxton has since moved on to a new relationship, but remained friends with Solis.


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