Jennifer Hudson opened up about making her Broadway debut in ‘The Color Purple’ and reflected upon her past including her American Idol experience. She also made some rare public comments about the 2008 murders of her mother, brother and nephew.
The 34-year-old multi-hyphenate entertainer rose to fame more than decade ago on American Idol, and in retrospect, the only surprise is that she with her powerhouse voice and prodigious talent was a seventh place finisher. Her staggering success in the years following has won her a Grammy, and Oscar. She may indeed add the Tony to her shelf of awards and come one step closer to EGOT status with her Broadway debut in a revival production of ‘The Color Purple’ based on the Pulitzer and National Book Award winning novel by Alice Walker.
She shared her excitement in her interview on CBS This Morning, telling interviewer Anthony Mason, “My first trip to New York was when I was coming to do the news for being eliminated from ‘American Idol. And then to fast-forward all the way to here now, it’s like full circle in so many different ways.”
She went on to reflect on her experience on the show, saying of the criticism leveled at her by the judges that “it gives you a tough skin.” Continuing, she added, “So I kept going with it. It’s like, well, they can tell me I can’t sing on the show, but you can’t tell me I can’t sing.”
And that soon evidenced when she was cast in ‘Dreamgirls,’ her first ever movie role, and delivered what’s become an iconic moment, her singing of the classic ‘And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.’ She said, “It was the very last scene filmed. And I swear, they wrapped the chairs, they wrapped the extras and I was the only thing left. Every tear I cried in that scene was a real tear. It came from somewhere. And I was, like, put it in this moment.”
She also opened up about the 2008 murders of her mother, her 29-year-old brother, and her seven-year-old nephew. The story made headlines internationally as details emerged of the circumstances and the culprit; the estranged husband of her sister. When asked how she could “even begin to process that” she said, “I don’t think you can. It’s one of those things where it comes in flashes.”
She went on to say, “I try to allow myself to let it do, be, bring whatever it brings. Because it’s too much. And when it’s more than one person, you don’t know who to grieve for first, or how. So when it comes, it comes.”
Asked of she still has conversations in her head with her mother, she said, “”All the time. And my brother, if he was here, if I was sitting up crying, he’ll say, ‘Jenny, knock it off. Knock it off!'”
There’s much more to the interview, as Jennifer Hudson covers many topics including her role in the new Spike Lee movie, ‘Chi-raq,’ set in Chicago and focusing on the gun violence that has claimed the lives of many and that sees her portraying the mother of a child lost to the violence.
Watch the full interview video below as Jennifer Hudson, on quite a career zenith talks triumphs and tragedy, and thankfully now, more of the former for her than the latter.