April 7, 1976, marked the film premiere of “Sparkle” and my introduction to the young, up and coming star, Irene Cara. “Sparkle” is the story of 3 sisters (Lonette McKee “Sister”, Dwan Smith “Delores”, and Irene Cara “Sparkle”) growing up in 1950’s Harlem. They become “Sister and the Sisters” girl group (formerly The Hearts) and we journey into their lives as their mother “Effie” (Mary Alice) struggles to raise the girls and reign in the “spirited” “Sister.” Along with Styx (Phillip Michael Thomas) and Levi (Dorian Harewood) the girls face and deal with the trials and realities of life.
I have 2 sisters and always wanted us to be a hot girl group. (Unfortunately I was the only one who sang:(
Directed by: Sam O’Steen. Music: Curtis Mayfield.
Lonette McKee, Irene Cara, Dwan Smith
Cara also went on to star in “Fame” 1980, the “movie that changed my life” and brought her superstardom. Irene’s voice would later influence my own performances. Young, beautiful and talented, she had it all! Her voice cut through me like a knife. I believed every word she sang and the lyrics seemed to sync up with the dreams I held in my heart.
Fame –” You ain’t seen the best of me yet. Give me time I’ll make you forget the rest.”
Flashdance – “What a Feeling” started the clarion call to believe that “I can have it all.” And in 1984 the song “Flashdance” won Irene Cara an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song.
What’s she doing now?
From Stardom to seeming obscurity.
I hope this piece has introduced or reintroduced this accomplished artist back into our cultural landscape.
Irene Cara has won an Academy Award, 2 Grammy awards, Golden Globe and numerous other awards.
For me – Irene Cara’s star will Sparkle forever!
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