Throughout the span of my 25-minute name with Tika Sumpter, it’s made abundantly clear that pleasure is a constant theme within the multi-hyphenate’s life. From the tales she chooses to inform in entrance of and behind the digicam as an actress, author, and producer to the inspiring group she has created together with her audio-first media firm, Sugaberry, to her position as a mom, Sumpter is actively working to alter the standard “doom-and-gloom” narrative and prioritize the joyful moments of the Black feminine expertise. It’s simply one of many many causes hers is a profession value following. 

Sumpter’s vitality is infectious even behind our respective Zoom screens. Reality be advised, it’s a very thrilling time for the 41-year-old. The second movie within the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, during which she performs Dr. Maddie Wachowski, broke new box-office data earlier this month, a second she will gleefully share together with her Sonic-obsessed 5-year-old daughter. She is within the midst of the sixth season of her award-winning podcast, The Suga, during which she and co-host Thai Randolph are fostering a rising group of Black girls targeted on placing their well being and needs first. Later this spring, she's going to tie the knot together with her fiancé, Nicholas James, in a vacation spot marriage ceremony. And if that’s not sufficient, she is at the moment engaged on a handful of tasks that can hopefully (fingers crossed!) be revealed quickly. Sumpter is busy, to place it mildly, seamlessly shifting from one profession hat to a different just like the true trade power she is. 

Forward, I speak to Sumpter about preventing for a extra well-rounded position in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the rewarding moments which have made the challenges of constructing a media firm value it, and her sage recommendation for brides and marriage ceremony visitors. 

Let’s discuss your movie Sonic the Hedgehog. There are two movies within the franchise, and each have damaged opening-weekend data for a online game adaptation. What made you need to be part of this mission early on?

It’s loopy as a result of it’s uncommon you get to be a part of a franchise, but it surely’s rarer that you just get to be a part of one thing that you just grew up enjoying or watching my brother play. I used to be so intrigued by . I beloved Tremendous Mario Bros. I beloved Sonic. And each time I might get my arms on the controller, I'd be excited to do it. So it’s simply surreal. It’s thrilling that folks need you to be part of one thing that has large IP. 

What can we count on out of your character, Maddie, on this second movie?

I used to be tremendous excited once they began speaking about [a second film]. … And I form of whispered, “Hey, guys. Don’t make me pregnant, please, and don’t make me on the telephone the entire time.” They usually really listened, they usually gave me one thing to do, gave me company, and gave me motion. It was quite a lot of enjoyable. And likewise [Maddie’s] sister Rachel, who's performed by Natasha Rothwell, we simply obtained to do extra and participate in doing the saving somewhat than being saved or simply bystanders. 

The Sonic franchise speaks to a number of generations however notably a youthful viewers. Now that you're a mother, do you end up gravitating extra towards tasks your daughter can watch?

Clearly, I nonetheless need to do issues that aren't essentially rated PG, however what’s thrilling is how excited my daughter was when she noticed the primary one at three and now at 5. I imply, she has Sonic covers on her mattress proper now, Sonic dolls, a backpack—she’s obsessed. She in all probability is aware of extra about Sonic and the entire crew than I do. She performs the video video games. It’s so enjoyable that my daughter can really perceive what I do and be part of it somewhat than like, “While you become older, you’ll perceive.” It’s so thrilling for her to be within the theater with me and to be simply as excited and inform all of her pals, after which all of her pals noticed it and are like, “I like you.” It’s so candy. I’m simply glad that I can do one thing that my daughter can watch.

Between appearing, writing, producing, and being a mother, you might be very busy. But when that weren’t sufficient, you even have your audio-first media firm, Sugaberry, that you just based with Thai Randolph and your podcast, The Suga. Let’s discuss Sugaberry first. It’s the one audio-first media firm for and by Black girls. How did it come about?

I imply, the concept was quite simple. I used to be pregnant with my daughter, and on the time, after I regarded up motherhood and I noticed Black moms after which all people else, it felt like Black moms have been simply checked out with dying, doom, and destruction. It simply felt like there was no pleasure in it, and I used to be like, “Wait a second. I've pals who're pregnant and completely satisfied, and there are joyful issues in addition to exhausting issues to speak about.” And I needed to alter the narrative of what it appears like for Black motherhood. We launched in the course of the pandemic, which was not deliberate, however our podcast was the bottom barrier of entry, and we needed to have the ability to have every kind of conversations throughout the board with all totally different individuals and [talk about] issues that weren’t essentially being talked about inside our group. And so I obtained along with my accomplice, Thai Randolph, who is definitely the co-president of Kevin Hart’s firm Snigger Out Loud Media, and I requested her if she needed to collaborate, and she or he was like, “Oh my god, I'd like to be a accomplice on this.” So we began the podcast, and we’re right here in our sixth season now and tremendous grateful of the suggestions we’re getting, and we’re rising. We at all times say you don’t should be a mother to be within the membership. We discuss womanhood and being who we're. We’re not simply moms hooked up to our children—we’re absolutely shaped girls. So it’s about that. 

The place did the identify Sugaberry come from? 

I simply needed one thing that felt candy. The sound is agreeable to the ear. You already know Tupac stated, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” and so Sugaberry, it simply seems like one thing you need to be part of. The suga is simply that. Rising up, my great-grandma used to say, “Give me some suga,” which was like a kiss. And we at all times say on our podcast, “We don’t sip tea. We share suga.” 

What has stunned you most in regards to the group you’ve constructed with Sugaberry?

That there was and is a starvation for conversations about IVF and miscarriage, but in addition “How do I speak to my child about sexuality?” and “What about me? I give all the pieces to my youngster, however what about me and my care?” We speak to docs. We speak to psychologists. We speak to different celebrities. … Generally, you suppose, “Oh, they've all the pieces straightforward,” however they’ve gone via quite a bit. Simply throughout the spectrum, we speak to all people who has a narrative. We learn our Apple evaluations, and they're like, “Please maintain going as a result of I used to be in postpartum, and this not solely introduced me pleasure however introduced me validation that I’m going to be okay.” And so each time we learn stuff like that, irrespective of how exhausting it will get constructing this enterprise, now we have to maintain going as a result of we all know it’s reaching any individual.  

That must be so rewarding.

It positively is. It generally makes us tear up as a result of we learn them on the present. You've your life strolling right into a podcast, like I simply actually yelled at my youngster, I obtained in a combat with my fiancé, and you might be strolling in, after which it’s like, “Okay, let’s do that factor.” And you then learn one thing like that, and it’s like, “Holy cow. Okay, let me get myself collectively and be trustworthy about what’s occurring in my life.” [This community] offers me the braveness to be susceptible; they actually do. I really feel like my story and different individuals’s tales assist validate their tales and permit them to be extra susceptible. I used to be actually bizarre about beginning a podcast. I used to be like, “Oh god. I don’t need to discuss my enterprise.” That’s not me. I’m an actress. I come from a college of thriller, that complete factor. You didn’t see individuals sharing like that, so that is even new for me, but it surely made me consider within the energy of being susceptible. 

From Sugaberry got here the podcast The Suga, which is centered on Black motherhood. As a mother your self, what have been a few of the most vital subjects or issues which were shared on the podcast? 

Oh my god. We’ve carried out like 70 podcasts, so let me suppose which one. There was this one with a health care provider, and she or he was speaking about fertility. Generally, as girls, we predict we are able to do all the pieces, and we are able to have a child, and we are able to do that. We at all times say you are able to do all the pieces, however you possibly can’t do it suddenly. And I made a decision later in life to have a toddler and so did my co-partner [Thai Randolph], and she or he talked in regards to the fertility points that she had. You spend a lot of your time making an attempt to not get pregnant in life, and we considered ourselves as careerists and all of this stuff, so when it did change into exhausting to do, it was like, wait, what is that this? This physician got here on, and she or he stated there are totally different paths to motherhood. It’s not only one method. There are a lot of methods to get there. And mothering doesn’t simply imply having a toddler. Simply the way in which and the care that she was speaking about motherhood, it was so lovely that it encompassed all people’s walks of life. You didn’t even should be a mother. You may need a niece or a cousin or any individual else who you might be taking good care of, and the way in which she was speaking what mothering is simply made our hearts soften, and we have been crying on that episode. I simply love the way in which we maintain one another on our podcast. 

You're tying the knot this spring, and since marriage ceremony season is upon us, I'd like to get your suggestions and tips. First, what has been the most important lesson you’ve discovered planning your marriage ceremony?

Properly, I’m not planning it myself. I do have a marriage planner—full disclosure—which may be very useful as a result of I'd be a sizzling mess. I'm a type of individuals. If your own home is empty, I’m like, let’s simply go purchase some furnishings; it doesn’t matter what dimension it's. My fiancé is the one who's like, “Tika, let’s measure issues.” So if it wasn’t for [my wedding planner], I'd be like pink over there, white over there, yep, certain, appears nice. I believe for me, now that I've to make selections and there are some bits of particulars I've to do, I simply say one factor at a time. You may’t do it suddenly. I’m an inventory woman, and I would like to put in writing it out, and I have to cross stuff off. So I believe write an inventory, give your self a date of while you need this stuff carried out, and simply take one factor at a time as a result of while you take a look at the entire platter, it’s exhausting and feels overwhelming. 

What recommendation would you give brides seeking to do a vacation spot marriage ceremony such as you’re doing?

The beautiful a part of that's everybody can’t journey sadly, so it’s going to get smaller. A tip for vacation spot weddings is to get any individual who is aware of the place. I actually consider you want any individual there to maintain the logistics. However the thrilling half a few vacation spot marriage ceremony is as soon as you might be there, there’s nothing else you are able to do. You're carried out planning. There’s no “Oh god. Uncle Jack is no matter.” You simply should let it go. 

What about marriage ceremony visitors? Do you've got any style dos or don’ts?

You already know, I’m such a laid-back woman. Simply be respectful. No jean shorts or flip-flops except that’s the kind of marriage ceremony it's. You already know what the situation is. Attempt to be respectful of that.

It’s been a busy begin to the yr, however let’s discuss what’s subsequent for you. 

I've some issues that haven’t been introduced but, however over the pandemic, I’ve been in a position to promote some movies and in addition a TV sequence that I'm producing and helped co-create that's being written proper now. I can’t actually say what these are proper now, however let’s simply say I’m excited. I’ve been producing for a minute, so I’m simply glad that hopefully the world will get to see the superb issues that I’ve been engaged on. Every little thing takes time on this trade. Nothing is tremendous quick, so that may be irritating. However it’s all within the works. There are quite a lot of good issues occurring. I’m positively a multi-hyphenate, and I’m excited for individuals to see [what I’ve been working on]. 

I’m curious. Between appearing, producing, and writing, which a part of the enterprise do you discover probably the most difficult?

They're all exhausting in several methods. Producing is hard as a result of it’s like rolling a big boulder up a mountain. And if one piece chips, it may well go that method, or it may well go this manner. There are such a lot of transferring elements that if one piece falls aside, all of it falls aside or not. And it simply takes time. It takes time for everybody to be on the identical web page, for everybody to be excited in regards to the factor, so that you can pitch it, for everybody to be like, Sure, let’s purchase it. Actually, I didn’t know the right way to pitch. I simply pitched from ardour and what I believe the present is and the construction and all that stuff. Folks ask, “Properly, how do you pitch?” And I can’t actually let you know. I simply should be excited in regards to the story with a view to discuss it. So I believe producing, in that facet, is difficult as a result of it takes a ton of various individuals, and there are only a lot of transferring elements. 

Writing, I don’t know. I’ve co-written one thing, and that’s exhausting since you are placing all of those ideas on paper and hope that they operate accurately and make sense. You're continually questioning your self. After which for appearing, you don’t should do any of the again finish. You simply present up, however generally, it’s like, are you the suitable individual for the half? And it’s nothing private in case you are not. So it simply depends upon the place you might be in your profession. 

You say it's a must to be actually excited in regards to the story with a view to pitch it. What are the tales that basically excite you proper now?

I’m tremendous enthusiastic about my mother’s story. She was a single mother in Queens and raised her 5 children on her personal. I at all times really feel such as you by no means see the coming-of-age story of a single mother with out it being like, oh, that’s so unhappy. We had so many humorous instances, but it surely was additionally robust. It’s a present that mixes these two, a dramedy, however a enjoyable coming-of-age for the mother, coming-of-age for the daughters’ story set in Queens. My mother was a stay-at-home mother for 13 years, needed to be thrown again into the workforce as a result of my dad and her break up up, grew to become a secretary and was making $13,000 a yr elevating 5 children, after which grew to become a corrections officer at Rikers Island and needed to put bricks in her garments to cross a sure weight check. Her story is so phenomenal and so inspirational, and that’s the form of factor I pitched and truly bought. They at all times say write out of your life, and folks will really feel it, and that’s what I do. I write from my life but in addition issues that I’m tremendous keen about. It’s all about issues I see lacking within the market after which placing the eagerness in there. So these are the issues that I’m enthusiastic about.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is now enjoying in theaters

Photographer: Tayo Kuku

Stylist: Zerina Akers

Hairstylist: Kee

Make-up Artist: Kristene Bernard

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