Jennifer Hudson On “Chi-Raq” Controversy: “How Far Are We Going To Go Before We Do Something?”
Before Chi-Raq made its premiere at the Chicago Theatre this past Sunday people already had their minds made up about the Spike Lee film. At the first announcement of the movie, Chicago residents were critical of the project and a 2-and-a-half minute trailer released earlier this month drew more backlash than Spike Lee or Jennifer Hudson, who stars in the upcoming limited release, feel is warranted.
We recently had a chance to chat with Hudson, a Chi-town native whose personally been affected by the gun violence ravaging the city, at a press junket for another one of her projects, The Color Purple on Broadway. When we asked how she thinks audiences will react to Chi-Raq she said she’s very “curious.”
“Apparently it’s such a controversial thing and I really don’t understand why, but when you’re talking about real life and real things people take it personally,” she told us. “I feel like it’s something that’s definitely worth doing. It’s definitely a subject that needs to be talked about and had attention brought to. Using my own reality, feelings, and emotions, it was probably the hardest and heaviest role I have ever played in my life. From the moment I took the role and I stepped on the set I was like, ‘Oh my God.’ I was literally holding my breath until it was over. It’s something very close to home for me. It was heavy, but I really feel it’s needed. Chicago needs help.
“We have to do something. In the world period, when violence happens, craziness happens, it’s like, ‘guys, what’s the breaking point? When is it enough? How far are we going to go before we do something?’ We have to start somewhere.”
Hudson is certainly doing her part, all while maintaining an insanely busy schedule. On Dec 10, The Color Purple will have its official Broadway opening and the world will be introduced to Hudson’s version of the iconic Shug Avery — a role the 34-year-old confessed she was “shocked” to land.
“I thought, me? As Shug Avery? Because it was like, ‘So Jennifer, would you like to do Color Purple’ and I was like, ‘Sure, who am I going to play?’ And it was like me? Really? Shug Avery? I definitely never would’ve guessed Shug Avery. It took a minute, but I love it. She’s the most different character I’ve ever played. She’s the most glamorous character I’ve ever played, and light. Everything is always so heavy, but outside of Sofia she’s the comic relief in a way — in a sassy way. I love that.”
Something else the singer and actress loves is coming home to her son, David Jr., and nephew who relocated to New York City with J-Hud while she performs in the Color Purple revival. The singer admitted it’s not always easy balancing motherhood with the stage though.
“I have two kids right now. I have one child, which is little David, but I brought his favorite cousin to go to school with him so I have two kids for the year — just for the year, let me be clear. After being in rehearsal from 10 in the morning to 6 at night, I go home and it’s like ‘Mommy!’ ‘Auntie’ and they want to dance and sing and it’s their time and I want to spend time with them so it never ends. There’s never a break, ever.”