Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981) is an American singer, actress and spokesperson. She rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol, coming in seventh place.
As an actress, she made her film debut portraying Effie White in Dreamgirls (2006), for which she gained worldwide acclaim and won the Academy Award, the Golden Globe Award, the BAFTA Award, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has also appeared in such films as Sex and the City (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and Black Nativity (2013). She has made numerous television appearances, including guest roles on the NBC musical drama Smash, the Fox musical drama Empire and the Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer. In 2015 she made her Broadway debut in the role of Shug Avery in the 2015 revival of The Color Purple.
As a singer, Hudson has released three studio albums. Her debut album Jennifer Hudson, released in 2008, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA, with sales exceeding a million copies worldwide. The record was nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the 2009 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Her second album I Remember Me, released in 2011, also debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and was certified gold by the RIAA. Her third and most recent album JHUD peaked in the top ten and featured the Grammy-nominated track "It's Your World".
In October 2008, after Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the public eye for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, with high profile performances at Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009. She also performed at the White House at the "Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement" event. In 2013, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.