Omari Hardwick

Omari Hardwick

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“I’m the producer, I hired you, I’m glad you’re here. Just do your best, show up, don’t make a fuss, and we’ll all be good,” but instead she gave me way more gems than that and I’ll never forget that.

And then there was the moment when we went to watch the [Detroit] Lions play the [Atlanta] Falcons in Detroit. I come from a football background and she knew that and I’m from Atlanta and she’s from Atlanta, so we were the only ones in the box cheering for the Falcons.  There was one time she just got so excited and accidentally cheered for the wrong team and they caught her on the megatron cheering for the wrong team, but she didn’t care. She was just having a good time. To just hang with her and watch her be excited and grounded and watching football, it was really dope and a refreshing moment for me to to see her so low-key and so grounded know the real “Whit,” as Derek [Luke who plays Sticks] called her. humble and and having fun.

EBONY: Of course, being able to see Whitney’s last performance and watch her sing the very fitting song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” in the film is a great draw. What are some other reasons audiences should pack the theaters this weekend to see ‘Sparkle’?                 

OH: Right now, with everything that’s going on in society, it’s a time where I think we need to be focused on family a lot more than we are. That’s what this movie is all about, the redemption of a family who is trying to figure it out. I think what’s most important is family. It’s not money, it’s not material, but it’s just love and even if that love comes in a dysfunctional manner like this movie displays, I want families to go see this, share it and sit in a theater and enjoy it together as family. That’s the main impetus for me is that families go in together and just enjoy it.

And there are just great performances here. Carmen Ejogo is going to surprise a lot of people. You’ve got Michael Epps who really does a different turn [as the troubled “Satin Struthers”]; people haven’t  seen him like this. Derek [Luke as “Sticks”] is as classy as ever.  They keep calling him the young Sydney Poitier. Tika [Sumpter as “Dee”] just really rocked it and Jordin as a rookie, for her to be on stage with Whitney and hold it down. These are performances that are going to go down as great performances and if they enjoyed the original, they should enjoy the ‘remix.’

You can watch Omari in ‘Sparkle,’ in theaters today and follow him on Twitter @OmariHardwick.

Brooke Obie writes the award-winning blog DistrictDiva.com. Follow her on Twitter @DCDistrictDiva.