Jennifer Hudson
Takes Back Her Spotlight

Jennifer Hudson
            Takes Back Her Spotlight

Chances are, if
you're a fan of American Idol, your love affair
with Jennifer Hudson began long before she took command
of the silver screen with her Oscar-winning turn in
Dreamgirls. For me, it was her performance
of Elton John’s “Circle of Life”
on season three. Her performance was riveting and it
was clear the Illinois diva with the big afro
(who misses that afro?) and annihilating voice would be a
star. In the years since, Hudson has gone beyond
the stars, but she hasn’t forgotten her
gay fans along the way.

Jennifer Hudson
has become a fabric of the gay community in the way of
Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, and Diana Ross. In
only a few short years, Hudson has garnered a Golden
Globe, Screen Actors Guild award, Oscar, and the honor
of being Carrie Bradshaw’s assistant! With all
the accolades, it’s hard to believe that the
Midwestern girl who made Effie White an Oscar-winning
character is just releasing her highly-anticipated,
self-titled, debut album on Tuesday.

“It was a
year and a half process of recording,” says Hudson.
“I got to work with amazing people like Missy
Elliot, Diane Warren, and also led by Clive
Davis.” Her first single,
“Spotlight,” is already a top-ten hit on
the Billboard dance charts and the buzz for the new album is
foreshadowing another award-winning success.

The former Advocate cover
couldn’t let an album release go by
without chatting about the music, her commitment to the gay
community, and more. your gay fans expect from the new album?

JenniferHudson: Mygay fans can expect just
me, Jennifer. The gay community has always
accepted me so I can only give more of that. Big
notes, big vocals!

Did you have your gay audience in mind when making
the album?

I did! We
actually did a lot of songs that were for my gay
fans. Not everything made the album. We didn't
want to leave anybody out. We tried to make sure
we had something on there for everybody, most
importantly, the gay community.

Ludacris, one of the guest artists on your
album, has had anti-gay lyrics in his
music. How do you reconcile that with your
gay fan base?

You know what, I
have never heard of that. I was never aware of that
at all. To be honest, I don't know what to say to
that. What's interesting is I think the gay
community would love him! [Laughs] Like I said, I
never knew that.

How do you explain this fascination gay men have
with Jennifer Hudson?

I've been trying
to figure it out for years! [Laughs] I don't know,
but I love it and I'm glad. I can only remain
true and try to do whatever I'm doing so I can hold
onto that. But, I still don't know -- I wish I could
figure it out!

Is there anything challenging about having such an
aggressive gay following?

Living up to
their expectations. My thing is if the gay community
thinks I am fierce then I must be fierce! The
expectations are high and you can't half-step, it has
got to be right.


Michael Patrick King said in an interview, "What's
the only thing I could do to make Sex and the
gayer?" Then he said, “Add Jennifer Hudson!”

[Laughs] That's amazing. It's honor to me
that he can say that. To have the gay community as a
following and to be accepted -- that's how I really
started performing, singing and coming into my own
because the gay community embraced me
first. That's how I got my feet wet so I don't take it
lightly at all.

The last time The Advocate spoke to you is
when there was some controversy over a comment you
made about religion to a Dallas LGBT paper. Today,
two years later, how do you balance your Christian
faith with your acceptance of homosexuality?

I believe that
gay people are Christian too. Gay people believe in
God too. I don't think it's fair to say just because
you're a Christian that you have to be against gay
people. That's not my way.

What are your thoughts on gay marriage?

I think it's a
beautiful thing. I think to each its own, if nobody
is hurting anybody -- who cares? Everyone should be
able to do what they want and be happy. Who you
love is who you love. That's the way I see

Have you gotten tired of singing "And I Am Telling
You" yet?
Jesus! [Laughs] Every time it comes
up and people say the main request is "And I Am
Telling You,” I'm like, "I have to sing this
song again?" But, as soon as I get the energy
from the audience and see how excited they are to hear it,
as if it's the first time -- it just makes it all new
to me all over again.

There was some drama with the original performer of
"And I Am Telling You,” Jennifer Holliday, who
felt like she wasn’t getting the respect
she deserved from the creators of
Dreamgirls. What is your relationship like
now with Jennifer Holliday?

We don't have
much of a relationship, although I wouldn't mind. I
met her once and that was at the BET Awards. I don't
take it lightly and it was awesome to be able to
perform with her. Outside of that, before then
and after, I have not heard from her. I sent her some
flowers after that, but that was it, unfortunately.

What's more exciting, when Dreamgirls first came
out or releasing your first album?

both exciting in their own way; I don't think I could
compare them. Dreamgirls was my acting
debut and now my album is my singing debut. I
think there was less pressure in the film because it's
an ensemble cast. The album is more intense and
nerve-racking because it's all me.

If you were a man for a day what’s the first thing
you would do?

Get another man!
[Laughs] That’s the first thing that
came to my mind! I like men so much as a girl I
don’t see why I would change it as a man!

If a Beyoncé drag queen had to battle a Jennifer
Hudson drag queen what advice would you give the
Jennifer Hudson drag queen?

Oh! I like
this one! Do what I did it Dreamgirls and be
me! It doesn’t get better than that!

Any last shout out to your gay fans?

If I could just
get out there and make a real tour where every concert is
for the gay audience, I would. Hopefully we can make
that happen. I want to say thank you for always,
always supporting me. Look for me, Jennifer --
there will always be more to come. Get the
album! Also, be open and embrace the other sides
of Jennifer that will be on the album.

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