The 1976 movie Sparkle is set the late ’50s/early ’60s and follows three sisters — Sparkle (played by Irene Cara), Sister and Delores — as they form a girl group and try to find fame. It’s loosely based on the story of the Supremes, though set in Harlem instead of Detroit.
Did Sparkle have an influence on U.S. baby names? Yes — the baby name Sparkle, bestowed infrequently before the release of the movie, was given to dozens (and, later, hundreds) of baby girls starting in the mid-1970s:
- 1980: 110 baby girls named Sparkle
- 1979: 125 baby girls named Sparkle
- 1978: 71 baby girls named Sparkle
- 1977: 89 baby girls named Sparkle
- 1976: 44 baby girls named Sparkle
- 1975: not listed
And actress Dwan Smith, who portrayed Delores in the film, boosted the visibility (and usage) of the baby name Dwan:
- 1978: 39 baby girls named Dwan
- 1977: 61 baby girls named Dwan
- 1976: 47 baby girls named Dwan
- 1975: 12 baby girls named Dwan
Lately, Sparkle’s numbers have been much less impressive…but that could soon change, as a remake of Sparkle starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks is set to be released on August 17.
Tika is another Sparkle name we should watch for. Delores is played by Tika Sumpter in the remake, so it’s possible that Tika could get a boost in 2012 the way Dwan did in 1976.
Do you think the new movie could spark a Sparkle comeback? Could Tika take off?
P.S. Tika Sumpter’s birth name was Euphemia. Ironically, the sisters’ mother in the movie was named Effie — a nickname for Euphemia. (And Effie was played by actress Mary Alice, whose mother had the very interesting name Ozelar.)