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Jennifer Hudson Achieves EGOT Status with LGBTQ Musical ‘A Strange Loop’

The musical centers on a young, gay Black man named Usher.

Jennifer Hudson joined the EGOT club during the June 12 Tony Awards. The singer and actress serves as a producer on the Broadway musical A Strange Loop, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. Now that A Strange Loop has won the prize, Hudson will receive her producer’s award—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 Yaga, an immersive virtual reality film about an ogress. 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. And now she can add the Tony for A Strange Loop to her collection.

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 this way: “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.” (The title is based on a cognitive science concept of a loop within a loop.)

Hudson is one of several high-profile producers involved with A Strange Loop., She joined TV host RuPaul and Tony Award-winning actor Billy Porter onstage when Sunday’s Tony 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, writer Michael R. Jackson reflected on the play’s importance and the meaning of representation.

Jackson wrote the play when he was 23 while living in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York. “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 a life raft for myself as a Black gay man to try to just get through the day.” 

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.” 

While accepting the Tony for Best Musical, Hudson credited Jackson for his work: “Michael, you gave us your words, your music, and none of us will ever be the same,” she said.

“Thank y’all so much,” Jackson concluded.


Terrance Turner

Terrance Turner is a frequent contributor to OutSmart.
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