The Internet is rich with mommy blogs, Facebook and Instagram communities and a plethora of organic baby food recipes, but actress Tika Sumpter knew there was still something missing for moms of color. HB caught up with the mother to three-year-old Ella and multi hyphenated actress about motherhood, her lifestyle brand Sugaberry and her passion for providing a safe space and community for Black and brown mamas.
As an actress in roles from Michelle Obama in Southside with You to Alicia Johnson on Mixed-ish, her thoughts on the evolution of the portrayal of Black women in film and television are nothing less than stellar reviews. “It’s fantastic! I’m grateful we get to portray fully-realized humans with actual feelings and emotions. I love that there isn’t this idea of one narrative of what it is to be a black woman. I’m enjoying that we get to show so many different sides to who we are,” Tika raved about the entertainment industry. However, she still recognizes that underserved communities of Black and brown mothers still need lots of love.
“I feel like certain brands don’t feel like they need to speak to us in a way they were speaking to other communities. It felt like we were an afterthought; I wanted to change that,” prompts the highly accomplished producer and actress about her ‘why’. “Although black women are 7% of the population, we over-index on spending astronomically. Black women deserve care in every category.”
Together, Sumpter and her partner Thai Randolph, identified a need and that there was a hole that needed to be filled. They’re doing just that with the launch of Sugaberry, a lifestyle brand created by and for mothers of color.
“I think stigmas about mothers of color and what we are, comes when there is one basic narrative or idea of what it is,” ABC’s Mixed-ish star shared with HelloBeautiful. “Our accountant at Sugaberry, who is a grandmother, was excited about this when this launched because she said there is an array of right answers within motherhood. I’m hoping Sugaberry can be home to all those answers, and within that changes the tide of the stigmas that follow what black and brown motherhood mean.”
When discussing the stigmas against mothers of color in today’s society and beyond, it was clear that Tika Sumpter created Sugaberry as more than just a weapon of mass destruction against poor representation of moms of color. Sugaberry is a tool used to build positive communities where like minded Black and brown mothers can gush on the joys of motherhood and uplift one another in times of struggle and hardship.
“Ella inspired Sugaberry when she was in my belly three years ago,” the leading lady explained about her daughter’s conception as inspiration for the brand. She continued to express her disbelief in brands and truly felt as though the media wasn’t paying enough deserved attention to Black mothers. “I had to really seek out resources and community to find what I was looking for, if it was there at all. When I did seek, at times it felt like the narrative that was out there was death, doom, and destruction. There was no joy in it. It felt like black moms were literally just surviving.”
As she takes on the new role of an entrepreneur while being a mother, Tika Sumpter told HelloBeautiful that this has been exhausting, but nothing that she can’t handle as a blessing to transform her community. “I’m excited to continue to create something so special. It’s been therapeutic, in a way. To build with a group of women who truly believe in giving black women the love, care, media, and resources they deserve. They inspire me,” she expressed.
“My head is filled with so much creativity for Sugaberry. It feels rewarding when women already validate Sugaberry by telling me this is something they’ve been looking for. I’ve had writers interviewing us for Sugaberry and we’re so excited by it that they wanted to write for us, too. It’s so lovely.”
In the midst of creation, Tika and Thai star in their platform’s own podcast, “The Suga,” where Tika’s mission is to bring positive awareness to common issues, and inspire women of color across the nation. “We’ve talked about everything from mental health, to sex, IVF, pathways to motherhood, inner exercise, crystals, Jesus, how having kids isn’t always silver and gold, postpartum, and so much more. I think there’s so many things that need to be discussed, it’s too long of a list. We need the opportunities to keep diving deeper into the entire journey of motherhood, auntie-hood, and the undecided-hood, [and] the joys and the pains,” the Haves and Have Nots highly-rated star shares.
When asked how she handles her day-to-day, Tika responds with, “whew, one day at a time.” Tika is managing her multitude of creative projects during this time of quarantine and chill with the help of her fiance, Nick, “who has really been the MVP out of the two of us,” she shares in appreciation of her soon-to-be husband. “He really gets in there with Ella, her school, and makes sure she has everything she needs while I’m working from home. He truly is the best.”
On the topic of management, Tika shared she manages her mental health through weekly check-ins with her therapist, taking a walk every morning, a face mask and meditation. “Now more than ever I make sure my self-care is on 10 because this pandemic has been mentally draining,” Sumpter admits.
When it comes to advice for other Black and brown mamas who may not be up-to-par on their self-care game, the Nobody’s Fool starlet has just the word for those struggling with mental health issues and feelings of dips in their emotions. “I’m hoping that they are letting themselves off the hook. Motherhood can already be a guilty feeling pathway. I want them to know they are doing the best they can. I’m hoping they have someone in their lives that they can talk to and talk through some of the things that are weighing on them,” she shared.
“I think more than ever self-care is literally the little things: a shower, a bath, five minutes to breathe or meditate, a social media break, a news break, a phone call with a friend, watching their favorite sitcom, painting their nails, listening to an uplifting podcast, dancing in your home like it’s nobody’s business. Breathing. I hope they know they are loved,” Tika concluded with an empathetic note of suggestions that every mother or mother-to-be should start executing immediately.