We all know Jennifer Hudson.
Upon the cusp of her rise to a superstardom she earned, I celebrated with glee, remembering how, many years ago, some of us engaged in a campaign to get “the girl who was unfairly cut on American Idol, one of the three divas” to be cast as “Effie” in the film version of “Dreamgirls.” As we all know by now, Jennifer Hudson made history as the breakout star in a film that was filled with superstars, including Jamie Foxx and Beyonce. And on February 25, 2007, she won the Oscar in Los Angeles while her family members, including brother-in-law, William Balfour, celebrated at their Chicago home.
She must have been so elated about how her career was about to skyrocket in ways unimaginable!
That is why I, along with millions of others, sat in shock at hearing how her mother, brother and nephew had been callously murdered. It’s such unspeakable evil, on so many levels and for so many reasons.
So, when she emerged to sing the National Anthem for the Superbowl game on February 1, 2009, I held my breath as she took the stage. And when she finished, through tears and gasps for air, I penned this poem for her:
A Poem for Jennifer Hudson on Superbowl Sunday
in the Hudson River of Hope
Like New York’s plane crash survivors
You grabbed it and held on
Even more than Obama
And that’s a lot of Hope
You had me
At your first step
Really, when they pronounced your name
The tears came
And I saw you with my soul
When you took that deep breath
Or was that a sigh I saw in your eyes?
As you stepped upon the platform
And stole the game and the halftime show even before it came
You stood there
Back to your Mama
Like the millions of people watching
Were not there
Back to your brother
proving you were the prettiest one of the other
Back to your nephew
A sleeping lullaby
And that’s why I cried
It had to be so hard
To take that call
And make that first step
And take that deep breath
Switch that mic from your left
Yet you stood
Legs straight and upright
You were the flag that was still there, scarred, yet unchanged
You were the brave about which you sang
And you inspired me
You retired my excuses and fear
In two minutes
You healed us with your courage
And I want to thank you
For taking all of our prayers
A most popular song
Like no one ever has before
Or ever will
When you sang
The Star Spangled Banner
Time stood still
and I . . .
am still . . .
catching my breath
It was a
© Dr. Goddess February 1, 2009 All Rights Reserved
Please feel free to share this with whomever you would like. Professional publishers, please do not reproduce this poem without the explicit, written permission from Dr. Kimberly C. Ellis aka Dr. Goddess (drgoddessarts (at) gmail.com).
When she sang, “You Pulled Me Through” at the Grammys and was hugged by Whitney Houston, it was yet another moving moment where we could see faith and strength, personified.
I don’t know how Jennifer made it. I admire her strength. My heart leapt with joy when I learned she was pregnant and engaged to David Otunga. This picture helped me see exactly how she made it through:
I love this picture of Jennifer and her newborn baby, David Jr.
Jennifer also lost a lot of weight (literally and figuratively) and is now the spokesperson for Weight Watchers. Her life has been such a lesson on faith and family.
Today is Thursday, May 10, 2012 and over ten hours and counting that the jury has been deliberating the fate of William Balfour, the 31 year old man accusing of slaughtering her family members. Jennifer Hudson has been sitting in on the trial everyday and gave tearful testimony as she recounted her experiences. She left the room or turned her head when the more gruesome photos of the autopsy were shown in the courtroom and sobbed when her ex-boyfriend provided his own tearful testimony. Perhaps, soon, the Hudson family will finally have some sense of closure for this tragedy. I am not sure what to think of the Balfour family but I am sure this has been a tragedy for them, as well. Who would want to think that their family member committed such unspeakable evil upon other human beings and even a child?
I glanced over at the #HudsonTrial hashtag on Twitter for updates on the case and the Chicago Sun Times and NBC Chicago seem to have the most accurate information, including the 911 call Julia Hudson made when she initially found her mother lying on the floor. There is no good ending here. Jennifer and the Hudson family know they will mourn for the rest of their lives. I just hope the joys of life come to outweigh the pain.
Stay strong, Jennifer and the Hudson Family. We are so sorry for your loss and we love you.