Whitney Houston has joined the cast of SPARKLE which began principal photography this week in Detroit, Michigan. SPARKLE is a remake of the 1976 film and tells the story of the title character Sparkle (Jordin Sparks), the youngest of three sisters and a music prodigy who struggles to become a star while facing issues that are tearing her family apart. Starring alongside Houston in the musical drama are Grammy® nominated and platinum recording artist Jordin Sparks (“American Idol” winner, Season 6), Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher, Captain America: The First Avenger), Mike Epps (Jumping the Broom, Friday After Next), Carmen Ejogo (I, Alex Cross, Pride and Glory), Tika Sumpter (What’s Your Number?, “Gossip Girl”), Omari Hardwick (Kick Ass, The A-Team) and Grammy® Award winner, Cee-Lo Green.
SPARKLE is being directed by Salim Akil (Jumping The Broom) from a screenplay written by Mara Brock Akil (“The Game”, “Girlfriends”) and produced by Debra Martin Chase (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Just Wright) along with Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil, T.D. Jakes and Curtis Wallace (Jumping the Broom, Not Easily Broken). Whitney Houston is also Executive Producing along with Gaylyn Fraiche (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2), and Howard Rosenman (Sparkle, The Family Man). Original music provided by multi-Platinum and Grammy® Award-winning artist R. Kelly. “SPARKLE is a movie I have wanted to remake for a long time and I am so glad to finally see my wish come true and to be part of this stellar team of actors and producers,” said Houston.
Last year, Whitney spent the majority of the year on a world tour in support of her album “I LOOK TO YOU” which to date has sold two million copies worldwide. After the tour, she lent her support to her manager and sister in law, Patricia Houston, who has created and developed a line of beautiful organic scented candles, MARION P, named after the nickname Whitney gave to Patricia. There are five different scents, which were chosen based on a trip Whitney and Patricia took to Israel a few years ago. “I’m delighted to be a partner with Pat Houston and the creation of her beautiful candle line. It’s the essence of everything pure. It’s not just a candle, it’s an experience. I have never endorsed anything before this. These candles are truly inspiring – they are 100% soy and also made with shea butter so that when the candle melts down, you can use it as a body moisturizer. Also, you are doing a good deed as a portion of the sales goes to Patricia’s teen mentoring program,” said Whitney. The candles are available on MarionPCandles.com and also through Whitney’s website, WhitneyHouston.com.
Whitney recently attended Teen Summit, Patricia’s annual teen mentoring event which “Rebuilds, Restores and Repairs” the lives of young teens. The event took place in North Carolina and Whitney spoke to the teens, alongside Kim Burrell, Rickey Minor, and Quinton Aaron (The Blind Side) and others. The event was a huge success and a portion of the candle sales will go toward this charity, which is in its 6th year.
With over 170 million combined album, singles and videos sold worldwide during her career with Arista Records, Whitney Houston has established a benchmark for superstardom that will quite simply never be eclipsed in the modern era. She is a singer’s singer who has influenced countless other vocalists female and male. Music historians cite Whitney’s record-setting achievements: the only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits (“Saving All My Love For You,” “How Will I Know,” “Greatest Love Of All,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me),” “Didn’t We Almost Have It All,” “So Emotional,” and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”); the first female artist to enter the Billboard 200 album chart at #1 (her second album, Whitney, 1987); and the only artist with seven consecutive multi-platinum albums (Whitney Houston, Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight, The Bodyguard, Waiting To Exhale, and The Preacher’s Wife soundtracks, and My Love Is Your Love). In fact, The Bodyguard soundtrack is one of the top 10 biggest-selling albums of all-time (at 17x-platinum in the U.S. alone), and Whitney’s career-defining version of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” is the biggest-selling U.S. single of all-time (at 4x-platinum). Houston made her movie debut in The Bodyguard (November 1992), in which she co-starred with Oscar-winning actor/director Kevin Costner. The film not only broke box office records worldwide but was ultimately responsible for the biggest selling motion picture soundtrack album of all time, voted the Grammy-winning Album Of the Year. Her film work continued with Waiting To Exhale (which opened December 1995, preceded by the soundtrack album in November). The critically acclaimed film, starring Whitney with Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon, and directed by Forrest Whitaker, went on to gross over $70 million (in ‘90s dollars). She followed those up with “The Preacher’s Wife” with Denzel Washington and the Emmy winning “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” which was made for TV and garnered huge ratings for ABC TV at the time.