Credit: ABC/John SalangsangActress Tika Sumpter is no stranger to being on television, starring in Tyler Perry‘s The Have and Have Nots and recently on ABC’s mixed-ish. But for Sumpter, it’s more than a career — she tells Essence she wants to be an inspiration not only to her three-year old daughter, Ella-Loren, but other black women as well.

“I want to be an example to other black women especially,” Tika explains. “I’m touched when they come up to me and say, ‘I see myself in you.’ That means the world to me. I think it’s really important that I’m an example.

Sumpter knew early on she had more to offer than just good looks.

“I thought I was cute, but I knew I had other things to offer the world,” she says — and that’s a message she plans to pass along to her daughter. 

“I want my daughter to be proud,” says Sumpter.  “I want her to recognize that all things are beautiful and that all hair textures are beautiful. I want her to understand that she has a dark-skinned mama who wants her to love every single flavor we are and to appreciate our huge array of colors.”

Sumpter also starred in and co-produced the 2016 romantic comedy Southside with You, about the budding romance between Barack and Michelle Obama, which became one of her breakthrough performances.

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