Jennifer Hudson is the quintessential embodiment of the American Dream. The Chicago native’s dreamlike ascent up the entertainment strata began as a musical cast-off who was unceremoniously dismissed from the television phenomenon “American Idol,” then arced as she rebounded in the most astounding way: her effervescence and roof-rattling voice stole a major motion picture from a cadre of A-list superstars in the film adaptation of the legendary stage play Dreamgirls and then earned her something that only one other African American woman has ever won: an Academy Award.

Along the way, J-Hud’s almost incomprehensible, meteoric rise in the industry was countered by an unfathomable family tragedy that horrified a nation. Hudson exemplified nearly preternatural strength and perseverance through the unimaginable to carve out a successful career and create another family that buoys her through life’s adversities.

Let’s take a look back at the life of Jennifer Hudson.

terry shropshire