The actress stars in Spike Lee's film Chi-Raq, in theaters now, where she plays a mother of a young girl killed by gunfire, a decision that was difficult for the star, who experienced a horrific gun tragedy in her personal life.
"Yeah, of course. It's like, you're asking a lot," Hudson told W magazine when asked if she hesitated on taking the role.
"This is reality for me. This is my life. A part of my life. And I definitely had that moment of like, ‘Are you serious?' But when I really thought about it, I understood why he came to me and I thought, ‘You know what? It's worth me telling my story so that hopefully no one else has a story like this to tell.' The film we're doing is trying to save my city, as my mother said, take care of home. So for that reason I was like, ‘Okay, I get it, it's worth doing.' But I don't think it's anything I will ever, ever revisit again."
As if there wasn't enough emotional conflict in the film, it opened in theaters after two horrific instances of gun violence in America. This sparked a candid and honest conversation with the star concerning the continuing problem of gun violence in our nation.
"If we didn't have these issues, I don't think a movie like that would have needed to be made. That's the point of making it, to make people pay attention and say, ‘Guys, we have to start somewhere.' And it's not just the city of Chicago. It's everywhere. It's a bad time right now, no matter where we look. Kids can't go to school, people can't go to church, you can't go to the movies. It's like, what are we doing to ourselves? What's happening? We're acting like animals," she told the magazine.
Hudson continued, "It's unfortunate that things are this way, but it's not going to change unless we do something about it. Even in filming the movie, there were times where more and more incidents kept happening. And Spike kept writing it into the movie. Those who don't get it, it's like, how don't you get it when this is what the issue is? And if you do have a problem with it, have a solution to come along with it. What plan do you have? How do you not try? And what are we supposed to do—just kill each other? It's a scary time no matter who you are, where you go, what color you are, where you live, honey."
Lee's film—which also stars Samuel L. Jackson, LaLa Anthony and Angela Basset—centers around the women of the community agreeing to withhold sex from their gang-affiliated boyfriends in an effort to stop all of the bloodshed. For this reason, the famed director received some backlash from critics, who believed the women's roles in the film were sexist.
Well, he shut all of that down during a recent stop on Sway In The Morning. "Here's the thing, I've been doing this since 1986. My first film was She's Gotta Have It. Some black women said she's an empowered black woman, other black women said that it was the stereotype of the sexualized black woman. I feel the character is a very strong character and you see her growth. Let's look at the women in the film. Teyonah Paris, Angela Basset and Jennifer Hudson. If you don't think those great actresses portray strong black women in the film, I don't know if you know what a strong black woman is."
Lee got even more fired up when discussing the movie, and added, "If you have not seen the film and you felt that we were making fun of the murders on the streets of Chicago or that we were making light of it, let me ask everyone a question: Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew was murdered in Chicago, why would Jennifer Hudson be in a film that ridiculed her murdered mother, brother and nephew? Why would she be a part of that?"