Tika Sumpter Covers Rolling Out Magazine
Hollyweird banger Tika Sumpter has been on the scene for nearly a decade now but she’s recently been making more and more of a splash each year for the past few years and she’s not showing any signs of slowing down in 2014.
Rolling Out Magazine recently caught up with Tika to talk about the second season of Tyler Perry’s Haves and Have Nots television drama, her character in the upcoming film “Ride Along” with Kevin Hart and her response to the heavy criticism of the increase in black actresses portraying “messy” characters on television. Check out what she had to say below:
On what she’s learned thus far from being in the business:
“I think one of the most important lessons that I’ve learned is to put your head down and work,” she says. “Don’t look at other people and compare yourself. Just do the work. Because when the opportunity is there, you have to be ready. Make sure your craft is refined and you’re constantly working on it.
Go to the auditions and go to the meetings and be on time. Stop looking to the left or the right. Keep your head down and keep moving.”
On how things have changed since experiencing more fame:
“It definitely helps [you get into] the room when you become more visible. You get more opportunities and different scripts to read. It’s definitely a small change.”
“I don’t really look around and smell all the roses. I have so much further to go and I want to do so much more. I’m still like ‘Oh, you know me? [laughs]’ “I enjoy it and I appreciate the people who do follow me and have been following me for a while. But I’m in no way satisfied. I don’t feel there’s an arrival point.”
My fans are really awesome.”
Tika also clapped back at the abundance of black female viewers who say black actresses portraying mistresses or other controversial characters in television and film are setting bad examples and perpetuating negative stereotypes. Hit the flip to peep her unfiltered response.
On criticism of black actresses portraying scandalous women often:
“I think sometimes, because we haven’t been on TV that much, and [because] this is all relatively new; people want to be represented differently and they feel like one person is speaking for the masses,” she says. “But if the character has no challenges or isn’t a bit messy — there’s no show.
There’s a reason why people love [ABC’s prime-time hit] ‘Scandal’ or ‘The Haves and Have Nots’ or ‘Being Mary Jane’ on BET. It’s because these characters aren’t perfect. If you want to put a perfect person on TV, you will have no show. In life, sometimes you see yourself in these characters and sometimes it’s not pretty.”
On the double standard of criticism of black shows versus white shows with equally as controversial storylines:
“Look at ‘Breaking Bad,’ ” she says. “This is [a show about] a teacher who had a meth ring. And it was one of the biggest shows. It’s a show that people love. But nobody’s going after that.
“Life is messy. People make decisions. Sometimes art imitates life,” adds Sumpter. “And I think, as people of color, we have to understand that we have stories, too, that need to be told. And real or not, that makes a good show and good characters and makes people watch.”
On black women being the main audience to pass negative judgement in lieu of supporting the emergence of black actresses:
“Some women are not really lifting up other women in these arenas. Which is really sad, because finally we’re getting some kind of voice,” she says of the criticism many black women have of these shows. “Some of the criticism is even louder than ever. But for the most part, I feel that a lot of people are positive about these shows and are happy to see themselves and it’s fun to watch.
And it’s not just black people watching the shows—there are other people watching, as well. So I’m grateful for the masses that are positive about it and are entertained.”
Sounds like Ms. Tika has a pretty good head on her shoulders and might be one to watch out for, riiiigght? Do you agree with her views on black actresses playing controversial characters?
Photo Credit: DeWayne Rogers