Original 'Sparkle' star on the remake: Actress and musician Lonette McKee says, 'It is in very good hands'

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From Ebony.com: It’s been over 30 years since actress Lonette McKee debuted on the silver screen in a skintight red dress, performed a seductive number entitled “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” and helped to forever cement the musical film Sparkle,as a classic. Now with anticipation mounting for the remake, which will be released this [today], McKee is reemerging into the spotlight. One of her plans includes launching a “Sparkle Live” concert tour in New York City on August 23rd at Aaron Davis Hall, featuring herself and original film co-leads Irene Cara and Dawn Smith.

The project is one of many which has kept the multitalented McKee quite busy in the years following the iconic flick. With a Tony nomination, numerous TV credits and an enduring career as a musician, McKee has managed to reinvent herself and survive the Hollywood machine.

EBONY speaks with McKee as she talks why her career nearly stalled after Sparkle, why the state of Black films is not much better than it was in the 1970’s, her true feelings on being shut out of the original film’s soundtrack in favor of Aretha Franklin and more.

EBONY: After all these years why do you think Sparkle still resonates with audiences today?

LM: It was a project where all the elements aligned to create a classic and that’s what happens with quality projects. We don’t have a whole lot of quality projects made, especially for Black films.

EBONY: Were you involved in the remake?

LM: Nope.

EBONY: Would you have liked to have been involved in the project?

LM: Let’s put it this way, if they contacted me I would have been there for them and shown up. But it doesn’t matter to me whether they called or didn’t. I don’t care. I got my own projects going on. One of our original producers is doing the remake so it is in very good hands and Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil are fabulous. They didn’t need us hanging around their set.

EBONY: What feelings came over you watching Whitney Houston in the trailer?

LM: She is so wonderful. I’m very honored it was her last thing that she did. I think she will be brilliant and it’s the perfect swan song. I think it will be a beautiful farewell to her and it would have been a comeback, but she never left far as I’m concerned.

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