Jennifer Hudson Speaks Out About Gun Violence: "What Are We Doing to Ourselves?"

The star lost her mother, brother, and nephew in a shooting in 2008.

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Jennifer Hudson struggled with her latest role. Starring in Spike Lee's Chi-Raq, a film that tackles gun violence, Hudson grappled with her character and even the decision to take the part, as the issue is a personal one for her—she lost her mother, brother, and nephew after they were shot and killed in their hometown of Chicago.

"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?'" the star told W magazine (opens in new tab) of considering the role. "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."

During filming—as more and more horrific shootings occurred across the country—Lee would write certain instances into the script. And, according to Hudson, it made her pause to reflect on art imitating life. "If we didn't have these issues, I don't think a movie like that would have needed to be made. That's the point of making it, to make people pay attention and say, 'Guys, we have to start somewhere.' And it's not just the city of Chicago. It's everywhere. It's a bad time right now, no matter where we look. Kids can't go to school, people can't go to church, you can't go to the movies. It's like, what are we doing to ourselves? What's happening? We're acting like animals," she said. 

And she's not the only celebrity choosing to speak out. Stars like Jennifer Aniston, Amy Schumer, Sofia Vergara, Kevin Bacon, and more have joined President Obama in a national PSA following the San Bernardino shootings titled "We Can End Gun Violence." The video encourages you to add your own voice—and write to your local and state officials. 

"It's unfortunate that things are this way," Hudson continued, "but it's not going to change unless we do something about it."

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Samantha Leal
Senior Editor

Samantha Leal is the Deputy Editor at Well+Good, where she spends most of her day thinking of new ideas across platforms, bringing on new writers, overseeing the day-to-day of the website, and working with the awesome team to produce the best stories and packages. Before W+G, she was the Senior Web Editor for Marie Claire and the Deputy Editor for Latina.com, with bylines all over the internet. Graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with a minor in African history, she’s written everything from travel guides to political op-eds to wine explainers (currently enrolled in the WSET program) to celebrity profiles. Find her online pretty much everywhere @samanthajoleal.