Jennifer Hudson on 'Chi-raq' character: 'I have the same story'

Jennifer Hudson on "Chi-raq" character: "I have the same story."

Jennifer Hudson said filming Spike Lee's "Chi-raq" movie reminded her of the murders of her mother, brother and nephew seven years ago in Chicago.

The South Side native plays a woman whose daughter is killed by a stray bullet while walking to school, she told Glamour magazine in a story posted online Wednesday. "Chi-raq" is a satire filmed in Chicago about women withholding sex until men stop committing violence.

"There's a scene where we're all holding up boards with (photos of) our slain children on them. I turned around, and it's a sea of real women (as extras) holding pictures of children they actually lost," said Hudson, 34. "I'm a character holding a picture of a little girl, but in real life I have the same story."

Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and brother, Jason Hudson, were found shot to death in their Englewood home in October 2008. Hudson's 7-year-old nephew, Julian King, was later found dead in an SUV on the West Side. Hudson's former brother-in-law, William Balfour, was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for the killings.

"It's frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain't lost nothing try to talk to me about it," Hudson said. "I want to say, 'Don't even bother, because you know nothing.' But you never know how much you can get through until you're going through it."

Hudson said having her son with fiance David Otunga helped her with her grief.

"I went from being an aunt, having a mom, and being a child to not having a mom, becoming a mom, and raising my own child," Hudson said. "I tell David (now 6) all the time, 'You saved my life.'"

Hudson, who recently moved to the Chicago area with Otunga, will make her Broadway debut this fall as Shug Avery in an adaptation of "The Color Purple." She will star in next year's HBO film "Confirmation," about Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

"Chi-raq" is set to be released in December.

"My whole life, through the good things, the bad things, I know nothing is guaranteed," Hudson said. "I've seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and everything in between, just like Shug. But what my mother, my grandmother and all the powerful women in my family instilled in us — our faith, and how to make it on our own — carries me through. It's like they are very much still here."

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