Seeing the late singer, Whitney Houston in the movie “Sparkle” wasn’t the reason I cried a river during the movie. I could relate to Houston’s character as an over-bearing, fanatic religious mother. Like my mother, Houston wanted to decide the destiny of what her daughter should be.
American Idol’s season six winner Jordin Sparks plays Sparkle, Houston’s daughter, who has a dream to be a famous singer. Houston makes several attempts to kill her daughter’s passion and dream of being a singer. Sparkle refused to give up and she fought her mom and finally freed herself. I transported myself into the movie screen and I became Sparkle.
Sparkle’s determination to sing was just as strong as my conviction to speak as I felt from my gut. My words, thoughts, visions and actions weren’t in harmony with my mother’s Jehovah’s Witness religion. She was determined for me to be a full time missionary and I was determined for me to be anything but that.
Sparkle became a successful singer. Her mother showed up to her opening concert backstage and told her, “You always believed in yourself.” I felt as if those words were being spoken to me. My strength has always been my belief in myself when no one else believed in me. This scene in the movie reminded me of my graduation from the Metro Dade Police Academy. Because my mother’s religion doesn’t believe you should carry a gun, she refused to attend my graduation. Her absence hurt to the core. My father pinned the silver badge on my chest as a tear fell on it.
This story is a perfect example of how we choose to let our experiences shape us. One of Sparkle’s two sisters became a drug addict and married a man who was physically and emotionally abusive. She ended up in prison. Her other sister went to medical school to become a doctor.
Sparkle would’ve performed on stage in front of thousands of people whether her mother showed up to support her or not. I appreciate people showing up to support me and my accomplishments, however, today I am my own support. My accomplishments won’t be lesser than because others don’t cheer for me. I am able to be this way because I finally became my own best friend. My mother forced me to be strong and she is partly responsible for me being a brave writer.
In the movie when Houston sang, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” I heard her spirit say she was tired and she was ready to go. I give “Sparkle” a thumbs up for motivating me to keep my eyes on the prize.