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Posted at 01:48 PM ET, 02/24/2012

Jordin Sparks salutes Whitney Houston at Essence luncheon


Jordin Sparks arrives at the 5th annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Matt Sayles - Associated Press)
Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon was held in Beverly Hills Thursday to honor Oscar nominee Octavia Spencer, screenwriter Shonda Rhimes, the legendary Pam Grier, as well as actresses Paula Patton and Kerry Washington.

But there was also a sweet remembrance of a star who wasn’t there — Whitney Houston — that captured the spotlight.

“American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks remembered Houston, her co-star in “Sparkle,” as “motherly,” “kind” and “so hilarious.”

Sparks said that Houston scolded her the first day on the set. But Sparks couldn’t help but feel “this is the best day ever,” according to People.

“I have amazing memories that I got to cherish,” Sparks told Essence on the red carpet. “Everyday when she came in she was so happy and so joyous to be there. She would walk in and say ‘How are my babies today? My babies good? God is good!’”

Watch part of Sparks’s speech, via TooFab, below.

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Also at the luncheon, Spencer was honored by her “The Help” co-star Viola Davis. According to Entertainment Weekly, Spencer became emotional as she talked about her “struggle” to find roles. She then switched gears and made a joke, USA Today reports: “You would not believe that Paula Patton and I have the same trainer. I think he's spending a lot more time with you, Paula! … I'm sorry; I'm trying to keep myself from crying.”

See highlights from the event’s red carpet below.


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Yvette Nicole Brown of “Community.” (Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images)


Paula Patton (Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images)


Viola Davis (Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images)


Octavia Spencer (Matt Sayles - Associated Press)


Tatyana Ali (Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images)


James Pickens, Jr., Chandra Wilson and Jesse Williams (Frederick M. Brown - Getty Images)


Kelly Rowland (Matt Sayles - Associated Press)

By  |  01:48 PM ET, 02/24/2012

 
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