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Jordin Sparks has performed on countless stages as a singer who soared to fame after winning American Idol’s sixth season. But despite her experience in front of an audience, she encountered a bit of stage fright ahead of the New York premiere of Sparkle, her big-screen acting debut alongside the likes of Whitney Houston.
“I’m just emotionally drained,” she told THR after Tuesday night’s Cinema Society screening. “It was my mom’s first time seeing it. So I was nervous about what she was gonna think. … I am so happy that it came out the way it did and I’m so proud. Like, I just have this overwhelming sense of pride because one) I watched and went, ‘I didn’t suck as bad as I thought I did!’ and then two) Whitney just glows, she just shines up there. And I feel so proud to be a part of something that made her so happy. And I can’t wait for everybody to see it now. I cannot wait.”
Sparks, 22, portrays the titular Sparkle, a talented singer and songwriter who keeps her ambitions hidden from her controlling mother, played by Houston, a powerful presence who brings nuance and grit to her final film performance. Unbeknownst to Houston’s matriarch, Sparkle and her siblings Dolores (Tika Sumpter) and Sister (Carmen Ejogo) start a girl group in ’60s-era Detroit; led by the sexpot Sister, the trio’s profile begins to rise while things take a dramatic turn.
Mike Epps, Derek Luke and Omari Hardwick also star in the film, which hits theaters Friday.
“This is a 12-year journey for Whitney and I to get this movie made,” said Debra Martin Chase, who co-produced Sparkle with the late music superstar. “So it’s also a celebration. She was so excited. She loved making the movie. She was so happy that we got it done. She filmed her last scene on the last night. … We helped each other and whispered in each other’s ears, ‘We did it.'”
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