Women’s History Month – Jennifer Hudson

Written by on March 18, 2021

Part of our Women’s History Month series about Chicago women musicians. For part one of this series, click here.


Jennifer Hudson performing at Aretha Franklin’s Tribute Concert, 2020. 

When someone mentions the name Jennifer Hudson, what word first comes to mind? An incredible voice? A beautiful actress? Or perhaps super-star, fashionista, or philanthropist?  This phenomenal woman has become such an icon over this last century that its easy to forget just how much she’s accomplished in her career… and where she started!

Jennifer Hudson was born in the Englewood area of Chicago in 1981. Her grandmother first introduced her to singing through church; Hudson fell in love with the craft right away. She pursued every opportunity she could to sing going into adulthood, from signing with a minor record label at the age of 20, to being a Top 7 contestant in American Idol Season 3.  Her major breakthrough came in 2007 when Hudson was cast in the role Effie White for DreamGirls…  and well, she’s been on a roll ever since!


Young Jennifer Hudson auditioning for American Idol at 21 years old

Among her many accomplishments, Jennifer Hudson has been prominently featured in 15 films, released 3 major albums, collaborated with some of our time’s greatest artists and has won 34 awards (and been nominated for 74)! Her name has also become synonymous with having a fantastic, powerful voice.

Outside of the arts, Jennifer Hudson became an active philanthropist after the tragic death of her mother, brother and nephew in a 2008 domestic violence shooting. The event prompted her & her sister to startv, and even have a seperate foundation in honor of Julian King that provides Christmas presents & school supplies to Chicago children in need.


Here are a couple of other facts you should know about this incredible Chicagoan!


Debut Album:  

  • Jennifer Hudson  – Released in 2008


Author’s favorite songs: 





Fun Facts: 

  • Has won an Oscar for  Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Dream Girls!
  • Her debut album Jennifer Hudson  won the 2008 Grammy for Best R&B Album
  • Before her American Idol Debut, Jennifer Hudson worked as a princess aboard a Disney cruise ship
  • First black singer to appear on the cover of Vogue Magazine
  • Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
  • Became a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers after losing a total of 80 lbs on the program


For more information check out Jennifer Hudson’s website!




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