Jennifer Hudson Playing Winnie Mandela – A Powerful Combination Of Talent Representing Passion

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On September 6, a very powerful and heart-wrenching movie will be released that will make you never want to go back to a life of mediocrity ever again.

‘Winnie Mandela’ starring Jennifer Hudson as the title role and Terrence Howard as Nelson Mandela is a powerful display of two people who changed the very definition of freedom fighters worldwide.

They say this movie will earn Jennifer Hudson her first Best Actress Oscar, but it is more about the woman she is playing and what she stood for rather than the speculated accolades.

J-Hud told The Daily Beast back in Feb 2011 how much her mind was opened once she embarked on playing the role of Winnie. The 29 year old chose to spend a few nights in a jail cell in solitary confinement so that she could fully understand a glimpse of the hardship the South African activist went through.

By the 3rd day her physical appearance was drastically affected, and she even started hallucinating conversations with her son.

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“They snatched her out of her home and she had no idea what happened to her children,” Hudson says of Mandela. “Imagine living that? This was her life! This was real. As a woman, I am angry for her, hurting for her. And as a mom? God, being in solitary confinement, away from my son just for five days when shooting those scenes—it was too much for me. I was drained and stripped down. I was changed.”

The real Winnie Mandela, who now goes by the last name Madikizela-Mandela, isn’t happy that her life story is about to be splashed across the big screen, however. The 74-year-old former wife of Nelson Mandela even threatened legal action to stop production.

“I have absolutely nothing against Jennifer, but I have everything against the movie itself,’ she told CNN in 2011. “I am still alive and I think it is total disrespect to come to South Africa, make a movie about my struggle and call that movie some translation of a romantic life of Winnie Mandela. I think it is an insult.”

Winnie remains one of Africa’s most polarizing figures. She married Nelson in 1958 at the age of 22, and had two daughters before he was sent to prison in 1963 (the couple divorced in 1996). During the 27 years of his incarceration, she became a central figure in the fight against apartheid but was also enveloped in several controversies that included charges of adultery, thievery, and even murder. She was convicted of theft and fraud, plus kidnapping in connection with the murder of a 14-year-old boy. To this day, there is much debate as to whether Winnie should be serving time in prison, or was unfairly targeted by a racist regime.
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Regardless of what Mandela may think, Jennifer is both humbled and in awe of what this woman did for her country and her tenacity to fight despite the bleak circumstances.

Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Jennifer never became familiar with the work Winnie did over the years. “I was an African-American girl, and I didn’t know about this person who had a huge impact on the world. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

“You mention Winnie to any African, and you see how affected they are by her,” she says. “It’s a powerful subject that moves and excites people. Half the country think she’s Satan, the other half think she’s the world’s greatest hero. Now we’re telling her story, so I can’t blame her for speaking out.”

We will let Winnie Mandela deal with her own reasons for being against this film, and instead we will celebrate the life of such a strong woman who is a great example for many generations of women around the world that there is nothing in this world that should stop you from fighting for what is right.

Watch the trailer below…

 

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