Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American recording
artist, actress and spokesperson. She came to prominence in
2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol
coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film
Dreamgirls which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress,
a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a
Screen Actors Guild Award.
She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson,
which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold
by the RIAA for selling over 700,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded
1 million copies worldwide. Additionally it spawned the hit single "Spotlight".
In late 2008, after Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed
in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the limelight for three months.
Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, and has since performed
at the Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The
Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President
Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser
in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White
House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event.
Jennifer Hudson was born on September 12, 1981, in Chicago, Illinois.
She is the third and youngest child of Darnell Donnerson (November
7, 1950 - October 24, 2008) and Samuel Simpson (died 1999)
She was raised as a Baptist and attended Dunbar Vocational High
School, from which she graduated in 1999. She cites Whitney Houston,
Aretha Franklin, and Patti LaBelle as her overall biggest influences
and inspiration. At the age of 7, she got her start in performing
by singing with the church choir and doing community theater with
the help of her late maternal grandmother, Julia.
 American Idol
Main article: American Idol (season 3)
Hudson auditioned for the third season of American Idol, in Atlanta.
In her audition she commented that she had been singing on Disney
Cruise Lines for the past few months (as one of the Muses from Hercules);
and contestant judge Randy Jackson said, "We're expecting more
than a cruise ship performance from you." Jennifer delivered
and all the judges agreed it was the best voice they had heard so
far in the competition. She was a member of the first group of semifinalists
in the Semifinals. She was not voted through to the final round,
although she was brought back on the wild card round and put through
as a "Top 12" finalist by Jackson.
Hudson struggled to gain popularity in the early stages of Idol's
live shows, receiving the second-lowest number of votes in two of
the first three shows. However, after a change in song choices, she
soon became a favorite to win, receiving the highest number of votes
in the "Top 9" after her performance of Elton John's "Circle
of Life," on April 6, 2004. Among Hudson's worthy performances
on the show was her rendition of Whitney Houston's, "I Have
Nothing". Judge Simon Cowell commented that Hudson, "finally
proved why she was among the 'Top 12,'" and referred to the
performance a week later as, "sensational." During the "Top
7" show, Hudson performed Barry Manilow's, "Weekend in
New England," which garnered praise from all three judges. Jackson
called the song Hudson's best performance to date; and Simon Cowell
noted that Hudson's presence made the third season a, "Battle
of the Divas," referencing other powerful vocalists Fantasia
Barrino and LaToya London. Despite this praise, Hudson was eliminated
during this week, which some blamed in part on a power outage in
Hudson's hometown of Chicago due to storms and tornadoes in the area.
This also led to controversy since the "Battling Divas" were
all in the Bottom 3. On April 21, 2004, Hudson became the
sixth of the 12 finalists to be voted off the show, finishing the
competition in seventh place.
In May 2010, the Los Angeles Times claimed Hudson to be the third
greatest Idol contestant in the history of the show. She placed behind
Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson and Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood.
 American Idol performances
Theme week Song sung Artist Date sung Status
Audition Share Your Love With Me Aretha Franklin – Advanced
Hollywood [N/A] [N/A] – Advanced
Semifinals Imagine John Lennon February 10, 2004 Eliminated
Wild Card I Believe in You and Me Four Tops
Whitney Houston March 9, 2004 Selected
Soul Music Week Baby, I Love You Aretha Franklin March 16, 2004 Bottom
Country Week No One Else on Earth Wynonna Judd March 23, 2004 Safe
Motown Week (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave Martha and the Vandellas March
30, 2004 Bottom 2
Songs of Elton John Circle of Life Elton John April 6, 2004 Highest
Number of Votes
Songs of the Cinema I Have Nothing from The Bodyguard Whitney Houston
April 14, 2004 Safe
Songs of Barry Manilow Weekend in New England Barry Manilow April
20, 2004 Eliminated
 Dreamgirls (2006)
In November 2005, Hudson was cast in the role of Effie White for
the film adaptation of the musical Dreamgirls, which also starred
Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles and Eddie Murphy. The role, originally
created in a Broadway performance by Jennifer Holliday, marked Hudson's
debut screen performance. She won the role over hundreds of professional
singers and actresses, including Raven-Symoné and Fantasia
Barrino. Filming of Dreamgirls began on January 9, 2006, and
the film went into limited release on December 25, 2006, and national
release on January 12, 2007.
Hudson has won particular praise for her show-stopping onscreen
rendition of the hit song, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going",
the signature song of the role, which had earlier been recorded,
and had already reached the status of musical standard, because of
the definitive performance of Jennifer Holliday. The New York Observer
described Hudson's performance of the song as, "five mellifluous,
molto vibrato minutes that have suddenly catapulted Ms. Hudson...
into the position of front-runner for the best supporting actress
Oscar." Newsweek said that when moviegoers hear Hudson sing
the song, she, "is going to raise goose bumps across the land."
Variety magazine wrote that Hudson's performance, "calls to
mind debuts like Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl or Bette Midler in
The Rose, with a voice like the young Aretha."
Hudson's version of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," debuted
at number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the January 13, 2007, issue.
The Dreamgirls track became Hudson's first top 10 hit on the Billboard
Hot Adult R&B Airplay chart on February 24, 2007. The track has
also reached number 14 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, while
remixes of the song have topped the Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play
As Effie White, Hudson has garnered 29 awards from film critics
as Best Supporting Actress and Breakthrough Performer of 2006. She
won the Golden Globe Award as Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
In addition, she has been named Best Supporting Actress by the Broadcast
Film Critics Association and also by the Screen Actors Guild. After
seeing Hudson's performance in Dreamgirls, Simon Cowell taped a congratulatory
message to her, which aired on The Oprah Winfrey Show. With the
March 2007 issue, Jennifer Hudson became the third African American
celebrity, and the first African-American singer, to grace the cover
of Vogue magazine.
Hudson performing in 2007
On February 25, 2007, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting
Actress for her role in the film. Upon winning the award, Hudson
also became one of the very few performers ever to win an Oscar for
a debut screen performance. As of 2009, she is also the only person
to have gone from participating in a reality television series to
becoming an Academy Award winner. During her acceptance speech, Hudson
said: "Oh my God, I have to just take this moment in. I cannot
believe this. Look what God can do. I didn't think I was going to
win. [...] If my grandmother was here to see me now. She was my biggest
inspiration." She also concluded her speech by thanking Jennifer
Later in 2007, the Mayor of her home town Chicago, Richard M. Daley,
declared March 6 as "Jennifer Hudson Day". She
also was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
on June 18, along with 115 other individuals for 2007. Entertainment
Weekly put her performance on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list,
saying, "Sure, Beyoncé's performance was great. And Eddie
Murphy's was impressive. But there was really only one reason we
all rushed to see 2006's Dreamgirls: Jennifer Hudson's soul-to-the-rafters
rendition of the classic "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going." When
she sang "You're gonna love me," it wasn't just a lyric—it
was a fact."
 Sex and the City (2008)
In September 2007, Hudson began work on Sex and the City as Louise,
Carrie Bradshaw's assistant. In the movie she was said to be a fashionista
from St. Louis. Filming finished in December 2007 and the movie was
released on May 30, 2008.
 The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
In January 2008, she began filming her third film The Secret Life
of Bees as Rosaleen, the mother figure of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning).
Also starring in the film are fellow Oscar nominees Queen Latifah
and Sophie Okonedo, as well as Alicia Keys. The film opened on October
17, 2008, and grossed over $37 million at the box office. The film
won two People's Choice Awards in January 2009 in the categories,
Favorite Drama Movie and Favorite Independent Movie. The film also
received nine Black Reel Awards nominations including three wins.
Hudson was nominated for her performance in the film, but lost to
Queen Latifah. The film also received eight nominations at the 2009
NAACP Image Awards, including a nomination for Hudson for her performance.
 Fragments (2009)
In 2009, Hudson starred as Kathy Archenault in Fragments, a film
based on the novel by Roy Freirich, with Dakota Fanning and Forest
Whitaker. The name of the film was changed from "Winged Creatures" to "Fragments".
It was released on DVD on August 4, 2009.
 Music (2006-present)
In September 2006, Hudson performed the song, "Over It," live
on Fox Chicago Morning News. In the interview she stated the song
would be included on her debut album, to be released in early 2007
however this was before she signed with Arista. On The Oprah
Winfrey Show, Hudson announced plans to enter the studio in March
2007. Hudson said on The Tyra Banks Show, on February 23, 2007, that
she just finished the first song for the album. Hudson also recorded
a song called, "Stand Up", which was available for preview
on her fan website which was produced by Chicago natives Earl Powell
and Herman Little III, who arranged the song. The power-ballad is
available on the deluxe edition Hudson's self-titled album as a bonus
In November 2006, Hudson signed a record deal with Arista Records.
She released her debut album and has recently finished recording
one song entitled, "Depreciate".
In January 2008 Hudson returned to the studio to record new material
for her debut album. Her label was reportedly unhappy with the direction
they were sending Hudson musically and decided it would be best to
scrap the older songs and instead focus on new ones. Hudson worked
with Ryan Tedder and Timbaland on a number of songs.
Her debut single, "Spotlight" was released on June 10,
2008 and became Hudson's first top 40 hit peaking at #24 on the Billboard
Hot 100 and became a top 20 hit in the United Kingdom and Turkey.
The second single, "If This Isn't Love" followed it. The
second single was to be released in October 2008 and was supposed
to be "My Heart". After three of her family members were
murdered brutally by her estranged brother-in-law, the single was
rescheduled for a January, 2009 release. In January her label decided
that the second single would not be "My Heart" and therefore
decided the second single would be released in February 2009. After
much discussion, her label chose "If This Isn't Love" as
the second single. The single eventually peaked at #63 on the Billboard
Hot 100 and #37 on the UK Singles Chart. The third single was announced
as "Pocketbook" featuring Ludacris in April, 2009, for
a June, 2009 release, despite speculation that the third single would
be "My Heart" after it was canceled as the second single.
In May, 2009, "Pocketbook" was canceled as the third single
due to negative reception from fans and critics alike. The third
single was then rescheduled as "Giving Myself" and was
released on June 2, 2009 to the US.
Her debut album, Jennifer Hudson was released on September 30, 2008
on Arista and was written by Ne-Yo, who co-produced along with Stargate.
Additional contributors on the album include Timbaland, Missy Elliott,
Robin Thicke, Harvey Mason, Jr., Diane Warren, Earl Powell, and Christopher "Tricky" Stewart,
among others. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 with
217,000 copies in the US and opened to positive reviews. As of August
2009, the album has sold 739,000 copies in the US, receiving a Gold
certification for surpassing sales of 500,000. She has performed
the song, "All Dressed in Love" for the Sex and the City
soundtrack, which was released on May 27, 2008. Hudson performed
the national anthem at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Her debut album garnered Hudson three nominations at the 2009 Grammy
Awards; Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Spotlight",
Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "I'm
His Only Woman" with Fantasia Barrino, and Best R&B Album
for Jennifer Hudson. She won the last of these and performed at the
Hudson sang The Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl XLIII. She
toured the United States with Robin Thicke in 2009. Recently,
Hudson has suffered through a "throat fatigue" and has
had to reschedule her May 16–19, 2009, tour dates. She
also sang "Will You Be There" at the Michael Jackson memorial
service on July 7, 2009.
Hudson has also recorded "Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the
First to Say Goodbye)," originally by Gladys Knight & the
Pips, for American Idol Season 3: Greatest Soul Classics—the
official American Idol album for the third season. She is featured
in a duet, "The Future Ain't What It Used to Be," on Meat
Loaf's Bat out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. She also performed
the song "Easy to be Hard" on the Actors' Fund benefit
recording of the musical Hair; and she is featured on Ne-Yo's second
album, Because of You, on the track, "Leaving Tonight".
Hudson sang "Dancing a Catchy Rhythm" with Brooke White.
In September 2009, Ne-Yo told E! Online that Hudson was ready to
get personal on her second studio album. When probed for details
he said that he might be producing the album. He also said "I'm
pretty good at writing personal records…It starts with her
idea and her thoughts." She's gone through a lot over the last
year, so she has a lot to talk about," he continues. "She's
definitely gotten stronger. The things that she's gone through and
for her to still be upbeat and happy, it's amazing."
Jennifer Hudson sings National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIII
Hudson will be doing a Christmas special on ABC in December 2009
called Jennifer Hudson: I'll Be Home for Christmas. She will relive
her childhood Christmases with musical performances filmed at her
favorite locations in her native Chicago. Hudson will also visit
family members, friends and other childhood influences during the
broadcast, ABC announced.
On January 22, 2010, Hudson appeared on the telethon "Hope
for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief", performing
the Beatles' "Let it Be". The telecast generated $61 million
in donations as of January 26, 2010.
On February 1, 2010, Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie planned to organize
a re-recording of "We Are the World" on January 28, 2010 — the
25th anniversary of the original recording of the song. However,
due to the devastation caused by the magnitude 7.0 MW earthquake
in Haiti on January 12, 2010, these plans were postponed. The new
version was recorded on February 1, 2010, and will feature many artists
such as Brandy, Gladys Knight, Toni Braxton and many more.
Hudson recorded the song "One Shining Moment" for the
2010 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.
Hudson will release her second studio album I Remember Me on March
22, 2011. The lead single "Where You At" was released on
January 24, 2011. On February 3, 2011 due to radio play the single
made its debut on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at
#53, so far reaching a peak of #29
 Personal life
Hudson began dating James Payton in 1999, when she was 18. They
were both from Chicago. When asked if they had any plans to marry,
Hudson declared that, "We are happy with the place we are right
now, but perhaps we will tie the knot someday. One thing's for sure,
I definitely won't be popping the question!" The couple
separated in late 2007.
Hudson met David Otunga (who appeared as "Punk" from I
Love New York 2), a Harvard Law graduate. On September 12,
2008, Hudson's 27th birthday, Otunga proposed marriage. Otunga
accompanied Hudson throughout Spring and Autumn 2008 on various promotional
events for her films, as well as debut album. In November 2008,
he started training to become a professional wrestler and went on
to wrestle for WWE under his real name. On August 10, 2009, Hudson
gave birth to her first child with Otunga; a boy named David Daniel
Hudson owns three Pomeranian dogs named Dreamgirl, Oscar and Grammy.
 Family murders
Gnome globe current event.svg
This section is outdated. Please update this section to reflect recent events
or newly available information. Please see the talk page for more information.
Wikinews has related news:
* Mother, brother of singer Jennifer Hudson found murdered, others
* FBI asked to assist in murder, kidnap investigation of Jennifer Hudson's
* FBI says Jennifer Hudson's nephew found dead
* Arrest made in Jennifer Hudson family killings
On October 24, 2008, Hudson's 57-year-old mother, Darnell Donnerson,
and the singer's 29-year-old brother, Jason, were found shot to death
inside the Chicago home Donnerson shared with Hudson's elder sister,
Julia. An AMBER Alert was issued for Hudson's 7-year-old nephew,
Julian King, after Hudson's sister, Julia, reported him missing.
Later that day, Chicago police arrested a suspect, William Balfour,
27, the estranged husband of Hudson's sister Julia, but he was not
charged with the crime. Balfour was on parole and had spent nearly
seven years in prison for attempted murder, vehicular hijacking and
possession of a stolen vehicle. The Illinois Department of Corrections'
records revealed one of Balfour's addresses to be the home where
Donnerson and Jason Hudson were murdered.
Three days later, on October 27, 2008, the dead body of a young
boy was found inside a 1994 Chevrolet Suburban parked on a street
in Chicago's West Side area. The license plate and the vehicle's
description matched that given in the AMBER Alert. The FBI
confirmed the body was that of Julian King. Autopsy reports released
on October 29, 2008, from the Cook County Medical Examiner's office
indicated that Julian King's death was due to "multiple gunshot
A gun found in a West Side vacant lot was confirmed to be the murder
weapon by Chicago police Superintendent Jody Weis on October 31,
2008. The gun belonged to Jason Hudson and had been missing for several
Funeral services for the three victims were held on November 3,
followed by a private service at Chicago's South Side Apostolic Church
of God on November 10. Hudson's family announced creation of The
Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, in honor of
Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.
Because he had not yet been officially charged with the murders,
Balfour appeared without an attorney at 35-minute parole violation
hearing on November 10, 2008; the hearing decision was that he was
believed to have violated parole and should be held in custody until
a December 3 hearing before the full Illinois Prisoner Review Board.
Balfour became the prime suspect on December 1, 2008, and was transferred
into police custody. A police department spokesperson said, "He
is awaiting formal charges for three counts of murder. There likely
will be a press conference once there are formal charges against
him." Balfour was officially charged with three
counts of first degree murder, one count of home invasion and was
denied bail. Balfour was indicted for the murders on December
30, 2008, and pleaded not guilty in a January 27, 2009, court appearance.
On February 1, 2009, Hudson made her first public appearance since
the murders when she sang the Star-Spangled Banner at Super Bowl
 Other media
As of April 1, 2010, Hudson became the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
She has lost 56 pounds (25 kg) in the last year and "does not
want to lose any more weight."
On 10 February 2011, she told the Oprah Winfrey Show she lost 80