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Tika Sumpter Fires Back at Criticism Over The Haves and The Have Nots

Don’t dare call Tika Sumpter’s red-hot role in Tyler Perry'sThe Haves and the Have Nots a bad depiction of black women! Sumpter chatted with TV Guide Magazine’s Michael Logan about criticism of her role as femme fatale Candace Young in OWN's breakout hit.


TV Guide Magazine: There's been criticism that your character presents a negative image of African-American women. Is that fair? Or is this a breakthrough of sorts? It seems African-American actresses rarely get to play the badass.

Sumpter: It's true! I think most people write from what they see in their own world, which is maybe why we so often see an African-American woman as the best friend, or the one you bring in when you need some sass. It's like we're put in a box. When I was on One Life to Live I always wanted to delve into my character, Layla, to find out why she was the black sheep of the family. I so wanted to have some edge. I have no idea why there was a reluctance to do that or why we so rarely see it. I guess you'd have to ask the writers.

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The actress also opens up about what it is like to rub elbows with Oprah Winfrey.

TV Guide Magazine: Since you're now a big star on OWN, are you hanging with Oprah?

Sumpter: You know what? For years Oprah was pinned up on my dream board — now I'm working for her, sitting with her, eating with her! She's been awesomely supportive, not like those people who just sort of nod and don't really listen when you talk. Oprah cares like a family member. Whenever I'm with her I'm, like, "Tika, be cool." But it's so surreal! I mean, a year ago, who would have thought?