The issue of gun violence in America remains raw and it’s particularly heart-wrenching for Jennifer Hudson, whose mother, brother and nephew were murdered in 2008. The singer/actress recently spoke about her role in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq in light of her family tragedy and the heightened focus on guns.

In an interview with W, Hudson says she was iffy about accepting the role of Irene, a mother whose daughter is murdered in the streets of Chicago as a casualty of gang violence.

Hudson tells the magazine:

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“This is reality for me. This is my life. A part of my life. And I definitely had that moment of like, ‘Are you serious?’ But when I really thought about it, I understood why he came to me and I thought, ‘You know what? It’s worth me telling my story so that hopefully no one else has a story like this to tell.’ The film we’re doing is trying to save my city, as my mother said, take care of home. So for that reason I was like, ‘Okay, I get it, it’s worth doing.’ But I don’t think it’s anything I will ever, ever revisit again.”

Hudson feels the time is ripe for a movie like Chi-Raq—although some people, including myself, find Spike’s execution of the topic poor.

“It’s a bad time right now, no matter where we look,” says Hudson. “It’s like, what are we doing to ourselves? What’s happening? We’re acting like animals.” She also says of the movie’s critics: “Those who don’t get it, it’s like, how don’t you get it when this is what the issue is? And if you do have a problem with it, have a solution to come along with it. What plan do you have? How do you not try? And what are we supposed to do—just kill each other?”

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Likewise, Spike Lee went off on critics of Chi-Raq last week in a radio interview with Sway in the Morning. Creators are naturally sensitive about their art and bound to defend it, but Spike prooobably should’ve foreseen such a high level of critique for Chi-Raq, given the sensitive subject and his humorous treatment of it, and maybe accept that it comes with the territory.

Nevertheless, the director was especially irate that people think Hudson would associate herself with a movie that poked fun at murder.

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“If you have not seen the film and you felt that we were making fun of the murders on the streets of Chicago or that we were making light of it, let me ask everyone a question,” he says. “Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew was murdered in Chicago, why would Jennifer Hudson be in a film that ridiculed her murdered mother, brother and nephew? Why would she be a part of that?”


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.

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