Much Ado About Hudson
The blogosphere has been buzzing about Jennifer Hudson's stand-out performance in Dreamgirls ever since the film's premiere earlier this week. It has been reported that her performance of the showstopping "And I'm Telling You I'm not Going" received a standing ovation mid-screening at the Ziegfeld Theatre here in New York the other night. This has had everyone from Rosie O'Donnell to Michael Musto predicting an Oscar in Hudson's future. Certainly with endorsements like that and her image gracing the covers of both HX and
Advocate magazine, her status as a gay icon is in the bag.
Or is it?
You may have read bits and pieces of an interview with snarky gay Dallas reporter, Daniel Kusner, in which he clearly baits Hudson, questioning her Christian past. Hudson admits to getting her start singing "for church conventions." He then goes on to congratulate himself on his reporting skills saying "I had a hunch that Hudson was religious."
Gimme a break! This is newsworthy? Find me an African-American singing diva who DIDN'T get her start in church. Gospel music is well respected cultural tradition which has proven an excellent training ground for singers from Aretha Franklin to Fantasia Barrino.
Kusner pushes a gay-hating litmus test throughout the interview prompting an off-guard Hudson to respond at one point "No one has ever asked me these questions." He then goes on to quote her out of context saying "according to the way we're taught and what it says in the Bible--it (homosexuality) is (a sin)."
Now, I have a big problem with a small time reporter trying to make a name for himself by undermining the success of a 25 year old kid in her first big break since being prematurely voted off American Idol two years ago. I suppose Kusner was hoping to create the same kind of flap Kaizaad Kotwal did with his Carol Channing interview a few weeks ago. I am well aware of those who disagree with me, but I believe Kotwal stumbled upon Channing's anti-gay remarks innocently where clearly Kusner is going for the jugular with Hudson. Follow the link above and read his whole article if you don't believe me.
Baited or not, Kusner's interview created a mild firestorm among gay bloggers over the last couple of days which prompted a well timed statement from Hudson in which she said among other things:
(The Bible) teaches us to love one another as God loves us all. I love my sister, my two best friends and my director dearly. They happen to be gay. So what? While some search for controversy, I hope that my friends and fans who know me, know where I stand."So just calm down everyone and be nice! By the way, don't get me wrong, I adore Carol Channing, but you'll note that Hudson's statement stands in stark contrast to Channing's rather obtuse one following her little slip-up.
I realize all this seems like old news, but something has struck me ever since Mandisa got the pink ax after her "lifestyle" remarks on last season's American Idol. What would make a venerable Broadway veteran like Channing scramble to save face with her gay fan base? What makes a diva-to-be like Hudson release a statement to the community she knows could catapult her to super-stardom? Why has Anita Bryant not had a professional gig since her stint as Florida orange juice spokeswoman in 1978?
It's simple. You just can't get away with this kind of thing anymore. Whether it's because of the changing political climate or our legendary impeccable taste and "disposable income," people care what we think. We matter. We have power. And that, my friends, is progress.