In the brand-new clip for the “Sparkle” soundtrack single “Celebrate,” the presence of legendary singer Whitney Houston is undeniable, even though she passed away prior to the filming of the music video.
In the clip, Houston’s co-star Jordin Sparks throws a house party attended by her “Sparkle” castmates, minus the late singer, although Houston does appear in the video via film footage. And in another nod to the star, Sparks also rocks a Whitney Houston T-shirt in the clip. The video is capped off with a message that reads “In loving memory of Whitney Houston.”
In an interview with BET, Sparks shared that the treatment originally included a cameo from Houston. But with her unexpected passing in February, the game plan needed to change.
“When we did the song, we planned on it being Whitney and me. But she’s not here, so we wanted to make it a tribute to her. So it’s fun, upbeat and exciting — there are clips from the movie and the main cast is in the video too. It’s me, Tika Sumpter, Carmen Ejogo, Derek Luke, Omari Hardwick … Goapele is in it and Mike Epps. We’re all just having a good time [and the premise is] they all come over to my house singing along to Whitney’s music. And we’re missing her and celebrating her as well. It’s actually pretty simple, but when you watch it and hear her voice along with it, it makes it so much more.”
The video is hardly the first time the singer has paid homage to her late co-star. At the Billboard Music Awards in May, Sparks took the stage and belted out the late singer’s iconic track “I Will Always Love You.”
“Sparkle” is set to open on August 17. A remake of the 1976 Irene Cara film, it follows three talented young Harlem sisters whose musical aspirations are affected when one begins to struggle with drug addiction. The 2012 version features “American Idol” alum Sparks as the titular character and Houston, who also served as executive producer, as her mother, Emma. It’s the last movie the singer filmed before she died in February , the same night she was slated to make an appearance at mentor Clive Davis’ annual Grammy party.