By Laura Hertzfeld
February 24, 2012 at 06:46 PM EST
Cate Cameron/The CW

Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon yesterday had much to celebrate, but it was also a more somber occasion than in previous years, with the recent passing of pop icon Whitney Houston. “I got really lucky to be able to see her on something she was so passionate about,” former American Idol finalist Jordin Sparks says about working with one of her idols, on the upcoming film Sparkle. Houston had just finished production on Sparkle before her tragic death earlier this month. “She was amazing,” Sparks says. Octavia Spencer also spoke with Essence about her experience being a black woman in Hollywood, and what the success of The Help has been like for her. Watch the full videos interview with Sparks and Spencer after the jump.

NEXT: OCTAVIA SPENCER ON PREPPING FOR THE OSCARS

Oscar-nominated actress Octavia Spencer also spoke with Essence editor-at-large Emil Wilbekin about her inspirations as an actress and how she is prepping for her big moment on the red carpet this Sunday. “If you’re not happy with you, you’re not going to be happy,” she says about her outlook on life, image, and becoming a celebrity.

Read more:

‘Sparkle’ producer: Whitney Houston is ‘brilliant’ in her final screen performance

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