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Sumpter doing what she loves in ‘Sparkle’

By// Julius Rea

Tika Sumpter, the multifaceted beauty who appeared on BET’s The Game and ABC’s One Life to Live, will hit the big screen today in Sparkle.

She will star as Dolores Williams, the strong, protective sister and daughter to Whitney Houston’s Emma character.

The remake of the 1976 film follows three singing sisters trying to make it big. Sumpter believes the new film will give the classic story a different, interesting spirit.

“I think it’s a different type of drama. I think we took flavors from [the original] and we made it our own,” Sumpter says. “It’s full of drama, but it’s also a joyful piece about a family trying to make it in life and stay together at the same time.”

As the film brings new life to a cult classic, the star-studded cast — including Omar Epps, Carmen Ejogo, Cee-Lo Green and Jordin Sparks — has garnered attention for the film.

However, all eyes are on Houston, in this, her last starring role. Sumpter says that working with Houston was one of the biggest surprises on set.

“I couldn’t believe I was having conversations with her,” Sumpter says. “It was like ‘Oh my God, I would sing your records in the mirror with a hairbrush.’ ”

Check out our review of Sparkle

Sumpter’s character, Dolores, is the middle sister between Sparkle and Sister, played by Sparks and Ejogo, respectively. Houston plays their mother.

She says Houston was nurturing and kind on the set. According to Sumpter, Houston said she was affected by her performance.

“She said ‘Man, girl. You got me. You got me,’ ” Sumpter says. “One day she came over and said ‘I’m so proud of you.’ For [Whitney Houston] to say something like that to me was big.”

Even though she shares the screen with “The Voice,” Sumpter wasn’t shy when it came to the singing aspect of her role.

While growing up, she was surrounded by her sisters, who sang, and her opera-singer mother. Sumpter says she also was signed to Universal Records when she was younger.

“I’m a creative person, and I feel that you don’t have to be limited or put in a box,” she said. “Actors sing and singers act. I don’t think we should be surprised about it anymore.”

While she is focusing on acting for now, Sumpter says she would like to delve into singing again and is working on a music project currently. Even though she is starring — and singing — in one of the summer’s most anticipated films, Sumpter is ready for whatever comes next.

“One: I just like working. Two: I love to act. I’ll do it on a small screen; I’ll do it on a big screen. It doesn’t really matter to me. There’s no big difference to me.”//