Fashion

Bride-to-Be Tika Sumpter Shares Her #1 Wedding-Planning Tip

Between acting, writing, producing, and being a mom, you are very busy. But if that weren’t enough, you also have your audio-first media company, Sugaberry, that you founded with Thai Randolph and your podcast, The Suga. Let’s talk about Sugaberry first. It’s the only audio-first media company for and by Black women. How did it come about?

I mean, the idea was very simple. I was pregnant with my daughter, and at the time, when I looked up motherhood and I saw Black mothers and then everybody else, it felt like Black mothers were just looked at with death, doom, and destruction. It just felt like there was no joy in it, and I was like, “Wait a second. I have friends who are pregnant and happy, and there are joyful things as well as hard things to talk about.” And I wanted to change the narrative of what it looks like for Black motherhood. We launched during the pandemic, which was not planned, but our podcast was the lowest barrier of entry, and we wanted to be able to have all kinds of conversations across the board with all different people and [talk about] things that weren’t necessarily being talked about within our community. And so I got together with my partner, Thai Randolph, who is actually the co-president of Kevin Hart’s company Laugh Out Loud Media, and I asked her if she wanted to collaborate, and she was like, “Oh my god, I would love to be a partner on this.” So we started the podcast, and we’re here in our sixth season now and super grateful of the feedback we’re getting, and we’re growing. We always say you don’t have to be a mom to be in the club. We talk about womanhood and being who we are. We’re not just mothers attached to our kids—we’re fully formed women. So it’s about that. 

Where did the name Sugaberry come from? 

I just wanted something that felt sweet. The sound is pleasing to the ear. You know Tupac said, “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” and so Sugaberry, it just sounds like something you want to be a part of. The suga is just that. Growing up, my great-grandma used to say, “Give me some suga,” which was like a kiss. And we always say on our podcast, “We don’t sip tea. We share suga.” 

What has surprised you most about the community you’ve built with Sugaberry?

That there was and is a hunger for conversations about IVF and miscarriage, but also “How do I talk to my kid about sexuality?” and “What about me? I give everything to my child, but what about me and my care?” We talk to doctors. We talk to psychologists. We talk to other celebrities. … Sometimes, you think, “Oh, they have everything easy,” but they’ve gone through a lot. Just across the spectrum, we talk to everybody who has a story. We read our Apple reviews, and they are like, “Please keep going because I was in postpartum, and this not only brought me joy but brought me validation that I’m going to be okay.” And so every time we read stuff like that, no matter how hard it gets building this business, we have to keep going because we know it’s reaching somebody.  

That has to be so rewarding.

It definitely is. It sometimes makes us tear up because we read them on the show. You have your life walking into a podcast, like I just literally yelled at my child, I got in a fight with my fiancé, and you are walking in, and then it’s like, “Okay, let’s do this thing.” And then you read something like that, and it’s like, “Holy cow. Okay, let me get myself together and be honest about what’s going on in my life.” [This community] gives me the courage to be vulnerable; they really do. I feel like my story and other people’s stories help validate their stories and allow them to be more vulnerable. I was really weird about starting a podcast. I was like, “Oh god. I don’t want to talk about my business.” That’s not me. I’m an actress. I come from a school of mystery, that whole thing. You didn’t see people sharing like that, so this is even new for me, but it made me believe in the power of being vulnerable. 

From Sugaberry came the podcast The Suga, which is centered on Black motherhood. As a mom yourself, what have been some of the most important topics or things that have been shared on the podcast? 

Oh my god. We’ve done like 70 podcasts, so let me think which one. There was this one with a doctor, and she was talking about fertility. Sometimes, as women, we think we can do everything, and we can have a kid, and we can do this. We always say you can do everything, but you can’t do it all at once. And I decided later in life to have a child and so did my co-partner [Thai Randolph], and she talked about the fertility issues that she had. You spend so much of your time trying not to get pregnant in life, and we thought of ourselves as careerists and all of these things, so when it did become hard to do, it was like, wait, what is this? This doctor came on, and she said there are different paths to motherhood. It’s not just one way. There are many ways to get there. And mothering doesn’t just mean having a child. Just the way and the care that she was talking about motherhood, it was so beautiful that it encompassed everybody’s walks of life. You didn’t even have to be a mom. You might have a niece or a cousin or somebody else who you are taking care of, and the way she was communicating what mothering is just made our hearts melt, and we were crying on that episode. I just love the way we take care of each other on our podcast. 

You are tying the knot this spring, and since wedding season is upon us, I would love to get your tips and tricks. First, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned planning your wedding?

Well, I’m not planning it myself. I do have a wedding planner—full disclosure—which is very helpful because I would be a hot mess. I am one of those people. If your house is empty, I’m like, let’s just go buy some furniture; it doesn’t matter what size it is. My fiancé is the one who is like, “Tika, let’s measure things.” So if it wasn’t for [my wedding planner], I would be like pink over there, white over there, yep, sure, looks great. I think for me, now that I have to make choices and there are some bits of details I have to do, I just say one thing at a time. You can’t do it all at once. I’m a list girl, and I need to write it out, and I need to cross stuff off. So I think write a list, give yourself a date of when you want these things done, and just take one thing at a time because when you look at the whole platter, it’s hard and feels overwhelming. 

What advice would you give brides looking to do a destination wedding like you’re doing?

The lovely part of that is everyone can’t travel unfortunately, so it’s going to get smaller. A tip for destination weddings is to get somebody who knows the place. I really believe you need somebody there to take care of the logistics. But the exciting part about a destination wedding is once you are there, there’s nothing else you can do. You are done planning. There’s no “Oh god. Uncle Jack is whatever.” You just have to let it go. 

What about wedding guests? Do you have any fashion dos or don’ts?

You know, I’m such a laid-back girl. Just be respectful. No jean shorts or flip-flops unless that’s the type of wedding it is. You know what the location is. Try to be respectful of that.

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