Jennifer Hudson Attains EGOT With “Strange Loop”

By Terrance Turner

Jennifer Hudson arrives at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage

June 11, 2022

Jennifer Hudson just joined the EGOT club at tonight’s Tony Awards.

The singer and actress serves as a producer on the Broadway musical “A Strange Loop”, which tonight won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Now that “Strange Loop” has won the prize, Hudson will receive an award for producing — and join the rare company of performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

According to Queerty and ABC News, Hudson won a Daytime Emmy Award last year for producing the animated program “Baba Yeba”, an immersive virtual reality film about an ogress. (She was also part of the voice cast.) Hudson won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Media for a Daytime Program in September 2021. She won the Grammy for Best R&B Album for her self-titled debut album in 2009. In 2016, she was part of the cast that won Best Musical Theater Album for “The Color Purple”. (She played Shug Avery in the Broadway revival.) Hudson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Dreamgirls” in 2006. Now, she’s won a Tony for “Strange Loop”.

A Strange Loop centers on a young, gay, Black man named Usher, who serves as an usher for the Broadway production of The Lion King. He dreams of writing his own play based on his life, but is stymied by the negative voices in his head. (Six actors represent those voices, two of whom belong to his homophobic parents.) The show’s creator, Michael R. Jackson, described it as “a big Black and queer-ass American Broadway show […] It’s a loop within a loop.” Hence the show’s title. Usher (played by Jacquel Spivey) describes it thus: “It’s about a Black queer man writing a musical about a Black queer man who’s writing a musical about a Black queer man…” in other words, a loop within a loop. (The title is based on a cognitive science concept.)

Hudson is one of several high-profile producers of A Strange Loop, and she joined TV host RuPaul and Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter onstage tonight when the win was announced. The show won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama this year and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical Score and Best Musical Book. Upon winning the award for Best Book of a Musical, Michael R. Jackson reflected on the play’s importance and the meaning of representation.

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Jackson wrote the play when he was 23 while living in Jamaica, Queens, New York, he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life; I didn’t know how I was going to move forward,” he said. “I felt unseen, I felt unheard, I felt misunderstood. And I just wanted to create a little bit of life raft for myself as a Black gay man to try to just get through the day,” he said.

Thanks to Jackson’s brilliance, Hudson now joins a very small club of performers who have won every major entertainment award. “Oh, I think that would be amazing for her,” lead producer Barbara Whitman told the New York Daily News. “She’s been a huge champion of the show and has been so wonderfully supportive.” Tonight, accepting the Tony for Best Musical, she credited Jackson for his work: “Michael, you gave us your words, your music, and none of us will ever be the same,” she said.

Michael R. Jackson (center, in pink) accepts the Best Musical award for A Strange Loop.

With “Strange Loop” winning Best Musical, Hudson becomes only the second Black woman and the third Black person in general to earn EGOT status — following Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend, respectively.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 08: Recording artist Jennifer Hudson attends the 68th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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