Jordin Sparks Shines in Sparkle

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Jessie LaRouere, Entertainment Editor

Jordin Sparks’ film debut in the new movie Sparkle is enough to make even Simon Cowell shed a tear. Okay, or at least smile.

Sparkle, which came to theaters August 17, is a remake on the 1976 film with the same name. Instead of the film being based in Harlem like the original, Sparkle is set in Detroit during the Motown era.

“Detroit is in this movie,” Sparks said. “It’s the spirit; it’s the heart of the movie.”

With an American Idol crown on her head and two best-selling albums under her belt, 23 year old Sparks has enough of which to be proud. She now is becoming a double threat as she enters into acting. Her humble personality shows through on screen as the innocent yet driven title character.

“This is my first film, my first acting experience” Sparks said. “The cast and crew welcomed me with open arms.”

The film tells the story of Sparkle and her two sisters growing up in the Detroit area. Sparkle, an incredibly gifted musician, is trying to become a star, but has to overcome many challenges along the way. Her mother, played by Whitney Houston, disapproves of her daughter’s dreams and tries to thwart her progress.

The film was Houston’s final project before her death on February 11. Production wrapped up three months before her passing and the film is dedicated to her memory. While on set, Sparks and Houston developed a relationship together.

“She was this super amazing world renowned singer and she wanted to get to know us,” Sparks said. “She was (executive producer) as well. She didn’t have to be there all the time, but she was — and I thought that was just incredible. I really grew to love her as I got to know her, and it was vice versa.”

Sparkle had an exclusive screening at the Royal Oak Emagine on August 5. Sparks attended the red carpet event and introduced the film to the crowd, thanking the city of Detroit for their support. Aretha Franklin, longtime friend of Houston, also was in attendance to promote the movie.

The rollercoaster of emotions that Sparkle portrays will have you singing, laughing, and crying by the closing number.

“You see us up there as a family,” Sparks said. “I hope you guys have tissues because you’re going to need them.”