Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The magic of Motown is reignited in the newly released film “Sparkle“, a remake of the 1976 movie. Jordin Sparks, Aretha Franklin and Martha Reeves walked the red carpet at Emagine Theater in Royal Oak for a special advanced screening of the film. I was pleased to attend the exciting event and meet the music mavens.
Set in the 1960s, the film highlights the life of three sisters, Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), Sister (Carmen Ejogo) and Dolores (Tika Sumpter), who create a singing group that quickly becomes the next big thing in Motown. The spotlight fades as the family begins to fall apart. The late Whitney Houston was not only the executive producer of the movie, but she also played the role of the girls’ stern, church-going mother, Emma, who is scarred by the music industry and refuses to let her daughters repeat her mistakes.
The movie was filmed in Detroit, featuring locations such as the Masonic Temple, Cliff Bell’s and Baker’s Keyboard Lounge. “Detroit is the heart of the movie. It really put us in the spirit of being in Motown because we were in the place where it was the music capital of the world at the time,” Sparks says. She added that a lot of the extras in the film were from Detroit.
The alluring wardrobe was enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. Costume designer Ruth E. Carter’s fierce ’60s fashions stole the show. Carter says she was inspired by Donyale Luna, the first black fashion model who ruled the runways during “the Sixties” and Twiggy, an English model, actress and singer.
Metro Detroit designer Deanna Zapico assisted Carter with some of the period costumes. Zapico created jewelry mini-dresses made out of 1-inch glass stones (pictured below) that the girl group rocked in a scene on stage.
Sparks told me that her favorite outfit she wore in the film was a pink and white ensemble she dons with a bouffant hairstyle when walking into the record label near the end. Try not to blink because you can only see a quick glimpse of the retro chic look. “A lot of it was vintage clothes so you know, I was zipping it up and thinking the woman who wore this before me… What did she do? Where did she live? I got to play dress up everyday. I literally got to live in the ‘60s for two months,” Sparks says.
Aretha Franklin, who performed on the original film’s soundtrack, believes the lead role was well casted. “I think Jordin Sparks fits the part to the T. She has a lot of class and I like the way she does her thing,” Franklin says.
Sparks, 22, says it was incredible to work alongside Houston for her acting debut. “I was the youngest person on set and she was the momma bear. We kind of just gravitated towards each other. So when you see me say I love you to her and her to me, it’s genuine,” she says.
The American Idol Star notes that Houston made an effort to get to know the cast members and that she truly wanted to see each of them shine. “Twenty years from now, I get to say that I got to film ‘Sparkle’ with one of my idols. It’s kind of overwhelming to think about. She meant a lot to me,” Sparks says.
I think the most memorable quote in the movie is when Emma (Houston) says “Wasn’t my life enough of a cautionary tale for you?”. That line seemed like a foreshadowing of her real life hardships. Houston did not fail to deliver, and her final performance will forever be remembered.
Have you seen the film “Sparkle”? I want to hear from you!The Damsel in Detroit