“It Take 10 Years To Make An Overnight Success” Tika Sumpter On Her Come Up, Interracial Dating & Dark Skinned Girls

December 18, 2013 ‐ By
Tika Sumpter

Source: WENN

If you haven’t been paying attention, it would seem like Tika Sumpter’s career took off out of nowhere. The 33 year old actress is working on quite a few projects these days. She’s in the recently released A Madea Christmas, she’ll be starring in the new comedy Ride Along with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, she’s also a star on the ever popular OWN show “The Have and Have Nots” and she’s also a cast member on the new BET show, “Being Mary Jane.” The girl’s grind is intense. So when MadameNoire had a chance to speak to this starlet in an exclusive interview, we asked her how she made it to the top, her current projects, interracial dating and how she proposes we get past the ever present issue of colorism in the black community.

MN: Your career seems to be on an upward swing these days? What do you attribute that to? 

Tika: I’ve been working for a while. So it’s just funny because I guess people are just now starting to know me for the newer things that I’ve been doing. I just keep my head down and just work hard and be consistent and prepared and make sure I know what I need to do in general. I’ve been doing the same thing for the past 10 years. I don’t think it’s anything different, it’s just getting in front of the right people. So with time– you know they say it takes 10 years to make an overnight success– so I’ve just been really working hard for a really long time.

And it seems that people are appreciating your efforts. Did you anticipate “The Have and Have Nots” doing so well?

That surprised me, honestly. I just knew that I liked the character that I was playing and I didn’t know what was going to actually happen. So when when we got the response that we did,  I was really happy and proud, And then we just went back and tried to make it better and better like every show. And I think people are even more excited now to see a second season. I’m excited that we went back and worked really hard. There’s going to be some familiar faces popping up and I’m excited for all the guest stars that are there. It was just like a little, grassroots kind of following and then word of mouth and it’s been really great. It’s done really well for the OWN network and for cable in general.

Your character is kind of out there. She reminds us of the daughter in Imitation of Life. How did you prepare to play her?

Well, it’s always fun playing the underdog and people who [are perceived] as bad. I think there’s a little bit of her in everybody. She just wants to make it in life. She just wants to be somebody. And the way she goes about doing it is not always the correct way but everybody’s story is different. I think a lot of things start as a kid and what you learn. And that’s why I don’t feel so bad playing her because her story is so rough from the beginning. People do what they know. And that’s what she does. I think overall she does have a good heart but it’s only for certain people.

We saw on your website that you used to be in an R&B group. So does that mean that was really you singing in Sparkle? 

Laughs. I was singing, actually, before I was acting. I grew up in church. My mom got offered to sing at Lincoln Center Preparatory for Opera. She taught my sisters how to sing in church since I was like six. I grew up in a singing household. Yeah, that was really us. We to a studio in LA and cut the songs.  That’s really me singing.

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  • amir bey

    Even though she is dark, her features are becoming more and more “European” since her days on All My Children, so she obviously has issues. Why do we let other folks define our beauty?!

  • Linda Littlejohn

    Tika Sumpter is young, very talented, beautiful and girl got it and gone – nuff said. Why oh why is the “color” of her skin even in this article at all and why have “we” not evolved past the racist ignorance that got us here in the first place? One better is why do black men allow themselves to be paralyzed and brainwashed by ignorance and hate then throw that filth back into the faces of their own beautiful women?

  • Elle Michelle

    So disappointed in Madame Noire with all the typos and grammatical errors in this article. SMH

  • Devil’s Advocate

    I think regardless if you’re light or dark, if you’re gorgeous, Hollywood will embrace you. Look at Tika Sumpter. Just look at her. She is beautiful. Just. Beautiful!

    I’d love to see more Tika Sumpters and Kelly Rowland dominate Hollywood. Because people seem to only look to TV to determine where beauty lies. And if TV continually hires light skinned beauties, but not the darker-skinned ones, of course the masses are going to believe beauty is defined by the caramels and not the dark chocolates.

  • kiki j

    Very well said

  • Leah Robinson

    I think she is literally one of (if not the most) gorgeous women in Hollywood! When I envision my black barbie, I think of Tika Sumpter.

  • JustSayin

    Let me say this to all my African American Queens – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING COMPARES TO THE BEAUTY THAT IS DARK BROWN SKIN!! Some women are risking serious skin cancer to look just like you!!

    • Ms. Edwards

      Wow. This has always been a problem for me since I was a child. I never felt pretty and often hid myself from others. I am dark skin and as a child growing up, I was scared by my 2nd grade teacher that told me to, “Go sit my little black ugly self down.” That has stayed with me for life. I am 39 now but my life has been one roller coaster after another. No good luck with me. Because of my low self esteem, had one good job and was laid off because I feel I just didn’t fit in with the other ladies (white and light). I have a very good heart but the world is based on the Beauty and skintone. Sad to say I get most of my Flack from my own black people. ##itshardbeingfatBlackanUgly# Thanks for this article and good luck Dark skin Sistas that make it in the Industry.

      • bigdawgman

        Dang, I hate to hear this. Be proud of your beautiful, black skin! The darker the berry….

  • Blckizbeautiful

    I freakin love everything that Tika Sumpter stands for, and I appreciate the fact that she makes it very clear that the confidence that she has gained wasn’t just because she was told how beautiful she is, but because of our history. We all come from an amazing background of kings and Queens. I pray that her career continues to rise to the top and that she is blessed with all that she dreams of.

  • real

    tika is beautiful and graceful. congrats to her!

    colorism, like racism, is alive and well in this society. it is evident that we are affected by it differently. for the ones who received positive feedback from their parents growing up – God bless you. understand that everyone did not receive that encouragement growing up, so colorism may have a negative impact on them. i do agree with tika in that we need to find our own beauty and not look to the media for it. i started doing that last year and i haven’t looked back.

  • Jenie

    I never knew so many have issues with skin color (dark skinned women) Chile I love being chocolate, heck … I think it my best feature. My father and mother always would say how beautiful I am along with a host of relatives and Aunts….. my father would really put it out there if your skin tone is dark…. My father loves darker complexion women…. but wow…

  • Lady Villa

    Why ask all the dark skinned actresses how it feels to be dark? Just talk about her talent, lack of African American actresses in Hollywood, her upcoming projects, how fine-classy-articulate she is….why ask completion questions all the time? It just draws uneeded attention to negativity amongst Blacks in general… she’s beautiful and should not have to explain why, nor give us an outline as to why she’s “so dark and so pretty at the same time”! Get over it people! Its about time she gets to shine and she should not have to explain her skin tone in her interviews.

    • brownhudson13

      @LadyVilla I understand where you’re coming from but the reason why they asked her questions like that is because this whole light skinned vs dark skinned thing is real life ignorance going on with Black Americans. It’s completely annoying that dumb questions over shadow her being an up and coming actress in general. Hopefully, having celebs reach out and shares their views about this nonsense will somehow help show that that way of thinking will get you no where in life in general. It’s extremely sad that there is prejudice within the same race to the point that it takes away from who people are.

      • jackie oh

        OK let’s further exploit light skinned vs.dark skinned nonsense by asking every dark skinned sister why she’s still worthy of fame and a successful career becuz she’s dark….. if what u say is true, why not ask all the Lauren Londons and Thandie Newtons why they love their light completions….its not fair to have darker skinned women constantly defend their color. So we’re further playing into this ignorance by making it the headlining topic for every female entertainer who is dark. Heck, its only the women who are dark that get asked this nonsense! Never the Morris chestnuts or taye diggs of the industry who have to yell from the heavens how they love being dark when asked about it on EVERY interview. Women of color are always pestered by these questions. Heck, even Kelly Rowland has has to address it on plenty of occasions. ..its just sad.

        • Chanda

          It’s a shame it has to be that way in interviews, I didn’t think it was that deep. Dark-skinned chicks just didn’t come from out of nowhere and it’s not a handicap. It’s as if that’s all they saw and where so stumped they couldn’t think of anything else (intelligent) to say.

        • SharonRose

          It’s like saying “oh your dark and you made it? tell us your secret.”

    • anonymouse

      i remember when I first saw her on OLTL and thinking that she has the prettiest skin and tone that I’ve ever seen

    • Linda Littlejohn

      Girl – thank you. Turns my stomach that most of the idiocy surrounding “skin color” comes from black people who should know better. Oh well – you just can’t fix stupid or rude or poor training can you?

  • Mynx

    It’s important to tell darker girls that they are pretty too. It makes a big difference. It’s hard for me to understand how my husband (who is white) has no problem with my dark skin. All my life I heard from my mother that dark skin is not a good thing and I won’t be able to make it far in life because my skin is so dark.

    • Yansa M.Toussaint

      It’s the new millenium and it sometimes shames and surprises me that Black people are still where they are in regards to skin color and hair texture. Also a lot of Black parents still teach darker skinned children that they are ‘less than’ passing the baton of self-hatred to the younger generation.

    • guest

      I mean absolutely no disrespect to your mother, but she probably grew up in a time when our community was more blatant about our disapproval of dark skin. I’ve heard of something called the paper bag test where, if you were darker than a paper bag, you were just considered unattractive, not worth much, etc. So she probably just said to you what was said to her. Can you imagine hearing that?? And from your own family?! I truly believe that’s why the color issue (and the pain it causes) continues to this day. It’s hard to give your child what you never received yourself.

      • Mynx

        We just recently had a baby girl and she pretty much took most of my husband’s traits. My mom was happy because she’s going to be light skinned with “good hair”. I remember while I was still pregnant my husband was hoping she had skin like mine so he can tell her just how pretty she is no matter what lol And that’s coming from a white man!

        I know I pulled away from the main topic of this article. I do like Tika Sumpter. Even though I’ve only been able to watch her on the Haves And Have Nots, I think shes an awesome actress and I hope she makes it! We need new black actresses,

        • guest

          Congrats on your new baby! And yes, Tika’s gonna do well in Hollywood. Good for her!

        • Self-Hating Negro Slayer

          My mom was happy because she’s going to be light skinned with “good hair”.


          • xxdiscoxxheaven

            yeah… I wouldn’t want to keep my child around that kind of negativity…

        • Real Truths

          Stop lying. If you’re “dark” and he’s typical “white”, then how does it come out with “most of your husband’s traits”? Nature and biology doesn’t work that way.

          • ksmall

            i actually know several biracial families where u can’t even tell the kids are half black. so what mynx said isn’t that uncommon. nature and biology are actually quite unpredictable in reality, especially when it comes to DNA. either way, we’ve totally digressed. the point she was making is that as black ppl we sometimes hate ourselves more than those that are outsiders. i too come from a family where some of them are totally on the “light is better” bandwagon. and so much of it was passed on to us by my grandmother’s generation. i heard my mother say the other day that most of them are dead (lol) and we’re trying to move on from perpetuating that self-hating perspective as a family. glad to hear ppl like Mynx are trying to do the same.

          • hollyw

            Are you for real?? Please go read a book, troll.

    • kate

      Sorry about that. I think it all comes down to parenting, cause my mother never made negative comments about my hair texture (besides “it’s grown so much longer!” between braids, which would always make me happy) or skin color, which never even gets brought up, so from a young age I always liked how I looked in that sense, even while growing up in a primarily white and asian community. My only issues were weight related, but that’s not an ethnic related problem.

      • cb

        ‘ethnic’ related? now what?

        • kate

          I meant that weight problems are universal, regardless of your ethnicity

      • SharonRose

        The it’s grown so much longer, always made me happy still does lol, I don’t even know why.

    • Real Truths

      “(who is white)”…blah, blah, blah…..

  • guest

    “I’ve never really had an issue with my skin color. I just wasn’t raised where it was a negative thing. I was always told that I was beautiful or heard the stories of my dad being like ‘oh my God, she’s my complexion. Yes!” because my siblings were light.” (Tika Sumpter)
    – That’s one of the things that stood out to me in her statement. She got positive reinforcement and affirmation of her beauty from her parents, but particularly from her father. That’s a powerful thing. I remember hearing the comedian Monique (who had what some might describe as a double stigma — being dark-skinned AND overweight) giving an interview in which she talked about how her father would always tell her how beautiful she was, which is the reason she grew up with so much confidence.
    – Mothers and fathers out there, TELL your kids they are pretty, beautiful, smart, honest, kind, whatever. And make it a point to do it more than once. I’m telling you, Words. Have. Power.

    • Guess

      “you is kind, you is smaht, you is impotent.”

      • guest

        LOL! Yes, girl. I’m is. (*_*)

      • xxdiscoxxheaven

        impotent?? LOL I don’t think that is what you want to go for

        • Hahalolol

          You haven’t seen “The Help”

        • bigdawgman

          imPOtent. hee

    • cb

      wasn’t Monique molested by her brother?

      • guest

        Yes, she was. She and her family did interviews with Oprah and talked about it.

    • hollyw

      It is true. My parents co-parented me, but I lived mostly with my mom. With being the youngest, having all brothers and male cousins, with only aunts in my mom ‘s generation, you’d think I was spoiled… =| Please, I was the red-headed stepchild, those women fawned all over the boys and not one of them would take me under their wing.

      Surprisingly, though, I grew up to be a naturally confident woman, without having to go through a bunch of struggle to build up my self -esteem, a wall because of my dad! He made up for my mom’s side, and then some! He actually didn’t focus much on my looks, just my academics and athleticism, so that I never really took my looks into consideration when weighing my self -worth. Worked like a charm!

  • jjac401

    Tika is a beauty and I am hoping that her star rises to the top!

    • Self-Hating Negro Slayer

      #January062014. One day (soon), it’ll all make sense.

      I love me some Tika!!!

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