BUZZNET Exclusive: Omari Hardwick On ‘Sparkle’ & Working With Whitney Houston

If you don’t know who Omari Hardwick is, you soon will! Appearing in countless movies such as Beauty Shop, Kick-Ass and The A-Team, the versatile actor is keeping busy with a number of projects out and forthcoming. He currently stars in the highly-anticipated movie Sparkle, alongside the late, great Whitney Houston and American Idol champ Jordin Sparks – and that’s only the beginning! Buzznet caught up with Omari and had a chat with the dapper actor about Sparkle, what it was like to work with Whitney Houston and he even gave us some school advice! 

Buzznet: Tell us about your role in Sparkle.

Omari Hardwick: I play Levi, a young gentlemen who has just hit Detroit by way of Kansas City and is basically trying to find his way. Levi is a post-military, optimistic man who has fallen for Carmen Ejogo’s character, Sister. He and his cousin, Stix (Derek Luke), are trying to set up shop in the music game of Detroit’s booming Mo-Town era.  


BN: What was it like being on set and working with Jordin Sparks, and the late Whitney Houston?

OH: At times, it felt like a free concert. Whether they were simply humming orbelting out a song for their characters, we were privy to the gifts of Jordin and the legend of Whitney. Whitney was just so much fun to be around on and off set. She taught me a lot. As producer, she was very professional, but never afraid to keep the set loose and lively. Whitney will forever be missed. Jordin was a little sister to me and very open to any advice the other cast members and I had to offer. A budding beautiful natural star, this is just the start of a big career for her.

BN: What’s the one thing you can tell us about Whitney, that people may not have known?

OH: Just how funny she was, constantly finding laughter and new things to joke about. I also found her very nurturing. As a mother, maybe this would be expected. But I think folks would be surprised at just how nurturing she was.


BN: What was your favorite moment, while filming the movie?

OH: After one of the performances in Cliff Bells, all the cast members got together and took random pictures. We had an absolute ball. This was the moment we realized not only how special the cast was, but how special the film was going to be. 

BN: What are you most excited about for people to see in Sparkle?

OH: My cast members’ performances. Especially Carmen, Mike, and Tika. They get to see how well Jordin pulls off her first film. I am excited for people to see that you can actually do justice remaking a classic (hats off to the Akils). 


BN: Back to school is starting up for kids… what advice would you give to the new kid at school?

OH: Just to observe. Don’t try to make new friends too quickly. The right ones will come your way. Be open to joining social groups and different sports teams. There’s more to school than just class. 

BN: What was your favorite ‘first day of school’ memory?

OH: All the first day memories were my favorite. Just the opportunity to meet new students and the excitement of new teachers. And to see who I’d be able to dominate on the field :)

BN: Were you ever bullied in school?

OH: Yes, on the first field trip in Kindergarten. They were trying to pick on me wearing overalls.


BN: What advice would you give to someone who is dealing with a bully?

OH: Stand up for yourself. Try to talk to the bully to find out what his/her issue really is. Because it is never you. 

BN: What’s up next for you, that we should know about?

OH: Sundance film, “Middle of Nowhere,” hits theaters October 12th, 2012. TV One’s “Verses and Flow” is currently airing Monday nights at 8pm (PST) / 11pm (EST). I also have a film, “Things Never Said,” that will soon be seen as well.