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Jennifer Hudson
Takes Back Her Spotlight

Jennifer Hudson
Takes Back Her Spotlight


Whether you first fell in love with Jennifer Hudson on American Idol or it took you until her Oscar-winning turn in Dreamgirls to jump on the bandwagon, there's no denying that the sassy girl with the big voice has a huge gay following. Now, after years of waiting, Hudson is getting back to what she does best... with her self-titled, debut album.

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 girl 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 City gayer?" Then he said, "Add Jennifer Hudson!"

Wow! [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 it.

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?

They're 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 Beyonce 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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