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?
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?
. 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.