Jennifer Hudson: Back To Her Beginnings In “Black Nativity”

Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson hits the big screen again on November 27 in the holiday musical, “Black Nativity.”

A contemporary film adaptation of Langston Hughes’ celebrated Christmas play, Hudson stars as Naima in the film, the young mother of Langston (played by Jacob Latimore).

Directed by Kasi Lemmons, “Black Nativity” also stars Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Mary J. Blige, Nas, Tyreseand Luke James.

“Black Nativity” has Hudson returning to the film genre that introduced her to Hollywood and landed her countless accolades. spoke to the Chicago-bred singer/actress about taking on another musical during an interview at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

How did you end up landing this role in “Black Nativity?”

They brought it to me about playing the role and once I read it I fell in love with just the idea of all the different elements—the church element, the family element, the holiday element. Up until this point, I had been turning down like every musical. I was like, ‘I do want to do another musical, not right now.’ But seeing all of those different elements made me want to be a part of it because I feel as though we don’t have enough of that around today. Enough films for family and centered around family. And I love the holidays, so that’s what got me.

Jennifer Hudson

You were introduced to Hollywood in the musical “Dreamgirls” and it landed you much acclaim. Is that why you were apprehensive about doing another musical?

It’s not that I don’t want to musicals, but it’s just everything doesn’t need to be that. I hate being typecast or boxed in, no one knows your limits the way you do. Don’t tell me what I can’t do or you just need to do this. So that’s why I was like, let’s try to stay away from musicals for a little bit because every script was a musical. It was like, ‘can we try something else?’ You know what I mean? For me, it was me trying to display myself in other ways and to say that it doesn’t always have to be this one thing. If you can sing in a musical and act in a musical, then you should be able to act in one without singing.

Does having an Oscar make people treat you differently when you walk on a film set?

I always consider the Oscar like a blessing and a curse. Sometimes you walk on the set and they’re like, ‘oh, you know everything.’ And I’m like, ‘no I don’t. Remember that was the first project. I’m here and I’m here to learn.’ On this project, I’m learning from Jacob, I’m learning from Forest, I’m learning from Angela. I look at everything as an experience and draw from that to be able to grow. Also not picking roles because I have an Oscar and everything needs to be that role. Having that over your head because you’re putting that on your own self. It’s more about for me, I want to do this because it’s a project that I want to be a part of or I’m passionate about it in this way or that’s a great message.

Had you seen or performed in the play version of “Black Nativity” before doing this film?

No. I knew Langston Hughes’ name. But now because of being apart of this, I want to learn more about him.

What do you want for Christmas this year?

My sister and I started our Julian D. King Foundation. We give back to unfortunate kids. Our goal is to have more and more kids and have more things to be able to give them. We’re blessed to take out blessings and bless other people with blessings. The more people we can help, that’s our Christmas wish.

What’s your favorite holiday film?

“Home Alone!” It’s probably like one of my favorite movies period.

Jacob Latimore, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson & Forest Whitaker in “Black Nativity”

VIDEO: Watch the trailer for “Black Nativity” below.

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