JORDIN SPARKS took to the stage at Essence magazine's annual Black Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles on Thursday (23Feb12) to pay tribute to her late SPARKLE co-star WHITNEY HOUSTON.
A host of famous faces gathered for the glitzy lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Octavia Spencer, Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Pam Grier and Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rimes were honored for their work.
Sparks was among the guests and she led a tribute to Houston, who died earlier this month (Feb12), by performing a song from Sparkle, telling the audience, "She went from being this unreachable supernova pop star to my co-star to my friend."
Speaking before the performance, Sparks told Access Hollywood, "I'm being a part of the tribute for Whitney, I was already going to do it and sing a song from the movie... and then all the recent events happened and now I'm going to be singing a song that she actually sang but is also in the movie...
"It makes me very emotional. I looked up to her, I sang her songs, and then I met her face-to-face and she was so kind, she was so sweet. I am just very blessed to have got to know her for the short time that I did. She was incredible."
During the ceremony, Spencer's The Help co-stars Emma Stone and Viola Davis presented the Oscar nominee with the award for Best Breakthrough Performance and the actress teared up as she accepted the prize.
She spoke about the friends she made during filming and then broke off her speech, telling the audience, "I got to get off that (subject) because it gets me emotional... I'm sorry; I'm trying to keep myself from crying."
Patton also became emotional after her Precious director Lee Daniels handed her the Shining Star award.
She said, "I'm not going to be able to stop crying. I can't tell you how much this means to me... All of this was way beyond my wildest imagination."
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