Jennifer Hudson is on top of her game. Her latest album, JHUD, debuted at #2 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart last year, and features her Grammy-nominated single, “It’s Your World.” Hudson will also make her Broadway debut this fall in the Oprah-produced revival of The Color Purple, opposite OITNB's Danielle Brooks. In her latest music video, the diva plays on our heart strings with the track “I Still Love You,” which has been created in support of marriage equality and features an interracial gay wedding.
Here, we catch up with the megastar as she celebrates the release of her video in New York, and ask her about the LGBT community, marriage equality, and whether she still sings “And I Am Telling You…” in the shower (Spoiler alert: she does!)
OUT: Hi Jennifer! How are you feeling going into tonight’s music video release event?
Jennifer Hudson: I’m so excited to be premiering "I Still Love You." It's part of my partnership with W Hotels and the Human Rights Campaign for the Turn It Up For Change initiative in support of marriage equality. This video is especially timely and important given the imminent Supreme Court decision. It depicts a father's last-minute decision to attend his son's wedding, and delivers a really powerful message of love and acceptance, while also being super fun and upbeat. This song will make you dance!
What made you want to get involved with Turn It Up for Change? You talked to The Advocate last October, saying how much the LGBT community has brought to you throughout my life...
Yes, it’s true -- from my friends to my fans, many of the most important people in my life are members of the LGBT community. I've always admired and respected the gay community for its courage, independence, confidence, and spirit. It feels natural for me to support this cause and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
Why is marriage equality such an important issue to you?
The gay community has been a constant source of inspiration. The campaign has a slogan, “Love has no limits," which I think perfectly describes why I feel strongly about advocating for this issue. The timing, of course, is highly significant with current events here in the US and around the world.
A portion of proceeds from downloads of your 2014 song “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)” has gone to helping the Human Rights Campaign. What specific issues is the money raised being used for?
The funds are used to support HRC’s fight for marriage equality in all 50 states. I’ve seen firsthand the impact marriage equality has on the LGBT community. The new video for “I Still Love You” is a powerful representation of the power of love and acceptance, and the importance of marriage equality.
The song is fun and dancy, with a jazzy, '70s feel similar to other singles on JHUD. Did the marriage equality project come first, or was it the song that made you want to get involved?
As an artist, I express myself creatively through music and, often times, videos can really help take that message to the next level. I knew that in addition to fundraising events at W’s across the US, as part of my support for this campaign, I wanted to create new and unexpected ways to raise awareness. After all, we are turning it up for change!
Will you be releasing any more videos or tracks through Turn It Up For Change?
We’ve focused on this project for the TIUFC campaign.
Lately, you’ve also been collaborating with some great artists, such as Pharrell, T.I., Timbaland, to name a few. Any other collabs coming up that you can talk about?
My next collaboration will be on Broadway, in a brilliant imagination of The Color Purple this fall. I can’t wait for everyone to see it!
What else is coming up for you?
I’m working a lot, so you can look out for upcoming film and television projects, as well as my Broadway debut. Besides that, we have many more exciting things to come in support of Turn It Up for Change!
Anything else you’d like to say to your LGBT fans?
I would just like to say 'Thank you.' I am so grateful for the relationship I have with the LGBT community, and it means more to me than I’m able to put in words. We are so close to the next step in equality, so keep fighting and turning up the volume. Also, thank you to W Hotels and HRC for their amazing support with this important cause.
I have to ask, even though I’m sure you’ve talked about it many times. Do you still sing “And I Am Telling You…” all the time? In the shower? With your friends?
Honey, I’ll never stop singing that song!
JHUD is available now on iTunes.
Watch Jennifer Hudson's “I Still Love You” music video below.