Jennifer Hudson On How Women Uplifting Women 'Is Not An Easy Task To Take On'

Jennifer Hudson on How Women Uplifting Women 'Is Not An Easy Task To Take On'

10/20/2021 7:20:00 AM

Jennifer Hudson on How Women Uplifting Women 'Is Not An Easy Task To Take On'

During her speech at the 2021 ELLE Women in Hollywood event in Los Angeles, the Respect actress shared why taking on the role of Aretha Franklin was such a challenge.

Respect,which covers the late singer’s childhood trauma (including the untimely death of her mother), the abuse she suffered at the hands of her first husband and manager Ted White (Marlon Wayans), and, above all, the triumph of her musical career, which included one of the most memorable repertoires of all time.

Hudson, who wore a sleek all-white Ralph Lauren suit to the event, said the most challenging part of playing Franklin was not matching the artist's voice but embodying her physically. “As I came in tonight, I couldn't help but to look around the room at all the women, to see how well we take up space today,” she said. “And I related that to playing Miss Franklin because, doing the research, I was studying the era she grew up in, where women didn't have the capacity, the opportunity, the chance to speak their minds or take up space. And one of the main things I had to keep in mind was the minimal space women were allowed to have. I remember thinking, ‘How am I supposed to play this role when I am very outspoken? When I walk into a room, you're gonna hear me. I'm gonna say what I'm gonna say.’”

She continued, “Because women back during that time, that era, couldn't even say what they thought or how they felt. But to look at us today, to see each and every one of us hold our space? We're on the right track. The thing that got me through filming was Miss Franklin's encouragement, and her faith that she had in women, and that's what we're supposed to do for each other as women—encourage each other. And that's not an easy task to take on.”

Emma McIntyreGetty ImagesBefore Hudson took the stage, actress Debbie Allen said of her friend: “She is somebody who embodies what it means to be a support system, a friend, a confidante...Jen is someone who is paving the way for other young women who come after her.”

Read more: ELLE Magazine (US) »

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