Part of Black culture is parents discussing racism with their kids and singer Jordin Sparks knows this all too well, as she prepares herself for when she eventually teaches her 2-year-old son Dana “DJ” Isaiah Thomas Jr. about racism.
Jordin Sparks rose to fame in 2007 when she won season 6 of American Idol at 17, which made her the youngest Idol winner ever. 13 years later, Sparks is a proud mother to DJ, who she shares with her husband, model Dana Isaiah. Although they know that tough conversations are necessary, Sparks and Isaiah dread having to explain racism to little DJ, knowing it will “chip away at his innocence.”
“How do we tell him that he may be treated differently because his parents have melanin in their skin? It’s devastating,” says Sparks. “It’s so hard that we have to have that conversation; he’s so young, and it’s hard to chip away at his innocence in that way. We’re going to have to have a conversation that’s going to shatter some things for our son.”
On May 25, Minnesota resident George Floyd was brutally murdered by police officers, and since his death, Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and systemic racism have spread across the nation. In those protests, Jordin Sparks sees hope that her son will have a better future. “I want his future to be better than this; it’s got to be better than this,” she says.
Jordin Sparks has been quarantined with her family as they wait out the coronavirus pandemic, and she has enjoyed the quality time with her son and watching him grow. “DJ has just blossomed so much during this time,” says Sparks, “Being able to see him grow every single day is so much fun.”
Jordin Sparks hasn’t just spent her quarantine time playing, she has also been hard at work on her new EP Sounds Like Me, her first solo project in five years. “I just turned 30, and I feel so far removed from that 17-year-old girl on Idol, but am still the same at my core,” says Sparks. “I’ve done a little bit of everything — pop, power ballads, R&B, I toured with Britney Spears — but this is the first time I’ve felt like a project sounds like me, so that’s what I’m calling the EP.”
Sounds Like Me is set to release on August 14.