Before her shocking death Feb. 11, Whitney Houston was due for a movie comeback in 2012 -- with Sparkle, her first film in 15 years, due out later this year.
Based loosely on the real-life story of The Supremes, the musical flick costars Jordin Sparks, who hadn't yet spoken out about the passing of her colleague and idol.
Attending the 5th Annual Essence luncheon in Hollywood on Thursday, Sparks, 22, broke her silence to reporters about the tragedy -- and her grief.
"It comes in waves," the American Idol victor admitted to Entertainment Tonight. "I'm definitely trying to process it a little bit."
During the luncheon, Sparks paid tribute to Houston with an emotional performance of "Look Into Your Heart" from Sparkle's soundtrack. (The "I Will Always Love You" singer, 48, was found dead in her Beverly Hills hotel room nearly two weeks ago.)
"I'm really glad I got to work with her," she said. "It was a gift that I got to know her."
Gossip Girl actress Tika Sumpter also starred alongside Houston and Sumpter in Sparkle -- and looked back on fun times on set to Us Weekly. "I remember while we were waiting for the set to be fixed and Whitney, Jordin and all of us were doing the Dougie together!" Sumpter said. "Whitney was pretty funny."