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The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

Tika Sumpter Talks Life as an Underdogg. The Importance of HBCUs, and more in “This is Dope” Interview


Amazon Prime Video started the New Year in comical style with their original movie “The Underdogs,” starring Snoop Dogg, Mike Epps, and Tika Sumpter. The film became available on the platform on Friday, Jan. 26. 

Snoop Dogg, who portrays Jaycen “Two Js” Jennings, is a former pro football star who has hit rock bottom. He experiences a chance to turn his life around after being charged with community service for crashing his expensive sports car. Jennings is ordered to complete 300 hours in the city park of Long Beach, California.

While working, he comes across his ex-girlfriend from his prime days in high school, Cherise (Tika Sumpter), who is now a single mother to a young son whose football team is ranked lowest in the city league. Jaycen signs on to coach the team to redeem himself career-wise and make a good impression on Cherise, but encounters many obstacles on the way to glory.


On Jan. 22, “This is Dope” held an HBCU roundtable event for student journalists to interview Tika Sumpter, who plays the role of Cherise in the film. Sumpter answered many questions regarding movies, her career as a black actress, Greek life, and more.

Student journalists from Howard, Hampton, N.C. A&T, Southern, Xavier, and more joined the discussion and received a glimpse of how life as press professionals could be. Students enjoyed how authentic and easygoing Sumpter was in her responses; she showed an unwavering amount of excitement after each answer.


 “My life should be called the underdog. Growing up and seeing no people around who look like me make it in the movie industry made me feel like one,” said Sumpter when asked how she related to the film. 

However, despite her hardships, Sumpter did encourage students to try their hand at everything because of all the opportunities at our fingertips. 

“There’s a million ways to get results nowadays. You can use your resources differently in this day and age.” 

She further explained that Snoop is an inspiration for how he uses his resources and platform to uplift the youth.

“Snoop inspires me to do more and inspires kids who are overlooked. He’s such a sweetheart on set, and you can see how genuine he is with the kids on the big screen.”

“The Underdoggs” teaches the everlasting lesson of humility, despite it being Rated R for its explicit language, which the kids in the movie also used. Jaycen’s egotistical personality is subdued after spending time in the community that brought him up.

Tika lastly touched on the significance of having a support system in life to some extent, especially since she partakes in a career that sometimes forces her away from loved ones to complete projects. 

Sumpter preached, “Family is what you make it. It’s like that good chicken noodle soup you have when you’re sick to give you strength again.”

Find out how Jaycen fills himself with said soup again by watching the film, which co-stars George Lopez, Kandi Burrus and Kal Penn, out now on Amazon Prime Video.

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