Let’s be real here: Soopa Starr’s Blaxploitation Friday > any and every Blackbuster “film” played on B.E.T. And as always, if you’re digging this, hit up Gangstarr Girl for a fresh take on hip-hop, politics, fashion and other worldly and wordy things through the eyes of a New York-helmed around-the-way girl. Without further adeiu…
I chose this one because there weren’t too many musicals in the blaxploitation genre and I wanted to deviate.
Synopsis: Sparkle is the story of three young sisters from Harlem who are a vocal trio aided by the tunes written by their friend Stix (played by pre-Miami Vice Philip Michael Thomas).
The group, known as Sister and the Sisters, gets a crack at stardom when a thug with connections named Satin (sat-in, not say-tin) takes over, booking the girls into bigger venues. He also takes Sister (played by Lonette McKee), the oldest, most outgoing sister (also leader of the group) as his mistress–turning her on to drugs and subjecting her to his sadistic physical abuse. McKee’s character is initially the film’s focus, but once she descends into addiction and leaves, Sparkle (the youngest sister played by Irene Cara) takes the group to the top, carrying the rest of the movie.
I couldn’t find a trailer but I think you’ll recognize this song starting at 1:21. Sexiest song by a girl group ever written and performed!
Music: The movie version of “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” along with the other tracks from the film were recorded by the actresses in the film, strictly for the movie while the soundtrack–written entirely by Curtis Mayfield–was done differently. Aretha Franklin (who isn’t in the flick) covered all of the its songs. It’s a unique concept even today, but that particular LP was one of the high marks of both Franklin’s and Mayfield’s latter-day careers. (I have the original soundtrack on vinyl, come see me!)
By the way, these dresses are to die for! I’d def play dress up for my man if I had these.
The En Vogue remake is just as sexy!
Extras: There’s been talk of a remake (produced by Raven-Symone) for years starring Ashanti as Sparkle. I’m not a fan. If I had my way, I’d have Diddy direct it (true story) and I’d cast Beyonce as the oldest sister, Tamyra Gray as Sparkle, and Ashanti as the other sister (the one no one cares about). How would you remake it?