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Jennifer Holliday: "I'm Not Going"

Jennifer Holliday, who originated the Dreamgirls role of Effie on Broadway, wants to make sure that despite the raves for that other Jennifer H., she isn't put out to pasture just yet.

JholShe appeared on Wendy Williams' radio show recently and went on and on about the injustices she's experiencing this holiday season, which include being left off the invite list for the Dreamgirls premiere:

"Actually I was sort of invited to the premiere tonight and then I got called and said that it was a misunderstanding and that I wasn't invited to the premiere, but that it was an actual screening that I was invited to but they didn't have a date for that screening."

She went on:

"I'm also still a young woman still out here trying to work so if you're trying to cancel out my existence and my contribution to then if you're trying to do that then what is to become of me, are you trying to say that two people can't be out here singing the same song? It's like, I'm not a millionaire and I don't have any kind of precious possessions, no children, this legacy, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" is the only thing I do have and I do need to work so it's alright if they have a movie so can't they just have me be wonderful too? Can't both of us just be wonderful? My thing is, please don't try to kick me to the curb."

JhudAnd on:

"One guy who's working on the music with the movie... he was saying, well, Jennifer Hudson has an absolutely wonderful gift and I think the torch has been effectively passed... I'm not passin no torch, 'scuse me, are you all trying to force me into retirement? Because..I still need to work so if we both sing...can she sing it..and I sing it..can we both sing it?"

And on:

"Give a Dreamgirl a break, I did give the girl the opportunity to do this... I created the role, no one gave me the role, I created the role."

And on:

"This story of Dreamgirls, we also want people to understand, is not the same as the play, what they've done is taken the brand of Dreamgirls and our fans and done a bait-and-switch."

And on:

"Fortunately for me, I owe most of my survival, towards going into this new millenium, to the gay community. They have kept me, they have supported me, they have given me work, they have given me great respect. They also are really the ones who kept this whole thing going until it could be rediscovered."

Wait till Holliday hears that Hudson will be performing to a huge gay crowd in NYC on December 30th.

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(source, thanks Seth)

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  1. I'd venture to guess the obvious: there is a lot of bad blood between the creators of "Dreamgirls" and Holliday. We don't know what has transpired, and it's not like anyone is going to sit down and dish all of the dirt anytime soon. But it would be foolish to oversimplify matters and say "Oh, David Geffen is a jerk" or "Holliday is a diva."

    Posted by: Keith | Dec 6, 2006 5:08:26 PM

  2. Look, the real issue here is that while Ms. Holliday raises many many legitimate points, the fact remains that the real reason why she wasn't formally invited to the premiere & likely why she wasn't asked to do a cameo in the film (like fellow original Dreamgirl Lorette Devine) is because she is NOTORIOUSLY difficult. Just like the role she created -- Holliday is as much a handful as Effie. She is her own worst enemy. Which is sad because the woman is phenomenally talented.

    She wasn't asked to do a cameo, her voice was used in the trailer that was released long before the new soundtrack was even recorded (which WAS absolutely legal, no one stole anything -- except maybe Holliday's pride) -- so she started mouthin' off in interviews... and I am sure that's why no one wanted her dissing everyone in site on the red carpet at the premiere.

    YES, she gets dissed alot. YES, there is ageism in Hollywood & the Entertainment industry. YES, fat girls get ignored & mistreated. But if Holliday just learned how to play the damn game, she might actually get some of what she wants & deserves.

    Additionally, she's an overgrown orangutan.

    Posted by: Feces | Dec 6, 2006 5:08:36 PM

  3. Holliday being difficult is putting it mildly. If you read the Michael Bennett biography you see how this very young performer truly put the screws to all these Broadway professionals.

    Posted by: Daniel | Dec 6, 2006 5:19:46 PM

  4. My response the Jennifer Holiday, "shut the F&ck up!" She's been out there for 20+ years. If she hasn't made it yet, she's done.

    From what I understand, she became a born again christian fanatic. Like Donna Summers, when the clock started ticking too quickly (and the bucks started running out), all of a sudden she was interested in selling out again.


    Posted by: Bryan, Texas USA | Dec 6, 2006 5:21:17 PM

  5. sorry andy... maybe you would have shown a little more sympathy is this was a story about your little baby Gyllenhall getting shafted by the powers that be. honestly, its so depressing that a story like this gets dressed up with your tacky, glib commentary but something like the bulge in Jake's spandex gets the 4 STAR, smiley face delivery. BORING, and typical.

    Posted by: david | Dec 6, 2006 5:22:21 PM

  6. Now it's Andy's fault Jennifer sounds bitchy? Whatever.

    Posted by: Marco | Dec 6, 2006 5:32:22 PM

  7. I'm shocked at the amount discord over this. Andy and his site are a must. Don't get the neg vibe.

    Posted by: pbnyc59 | Dec 6, 2006 5:54:48 PM

  8. Indeed, Ms. Holiday has maintained her "reputation" for more than two decades following Broadway. On "Inside Edition" she admitted to years of clinical depression, and burst into tears because "friends" were confused by the trailer and congradulated her for being chosen for the role of Effie in the film. Yeah, right. She had two choices regarding this film - ally herself and ride on its coatstrings or take her typical "sour grapes" position and be viewed as tragic in the industry. Much more importantly, I am waiting to see which position Ms. Ross takes - I hope she will not continue her path of self-destruction and take the high road. She has caused herself and her beautiful daughters enough embarassment.

    Posted by: Hank | Dec 6, 2006 5:55:37 PM

  9. Friends who worked with Jennifer Holiday recently (past few years) have all said, "Never again!". From their accounts, she is a very difficult (read "crazy") individual to work with. In gossip-y tones, many of them blame Michael Bennett and the head trips he used to play.

    Wasn't there myself, so I don't know.

    Posted by: Brian Griffin | Dec 6, 2006 6:02:53 PM

  10. Andy-Seems that some readers of YOUR blog feel it should be a news site and not YOUR blog. There are countless of us that appreciate reading YOUR blog and respect YOUR right to feature whatever articles and whatever headlines you choose. After all, it is YOUR blog, right?

    Posted by: Hank | Dec 6, 2006 6:06:26 PM

  11. Oh Goodness... it is a Full Moon, and evident here, I see. I'm scared to say anything... I don't want to get into a scratch fight. But Jennifer Holiday should have been at the premiere... that's wrong. What they should have done was film this thing back in the 1980s with the original Broadway cast...they were all FLAWLESS. I can't imagine the film soundtrack exceeding the Broadway cast album.

    Posted by: CaliNexus | Dec 6, 2006 6:17:13 PM

  12. "she's an overgrown orangutan"???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Did Rosemary's, excuse me Mary Cheney's pregnancy open the gates of Hell for such reptiles to craw out onto Towleroad?
    Or, judging by many of these posts, perhaps, today, it should be called Trollroad.

    Posted by: Leland | Dec 6, 2006 6:22:44 PM

  13. I was an usher in LA when Jennifer starred in Dreamgirls, & all I haft to say is, there is no one who has ever been able to match her voice as Effie. Lilias White was her understudy, & although she gave a very good acting job, her voice wss no where near what Jennifer's voice is til this day. Jennifer is an amazing singer, and I hope that the film only enables her to forge ahead in her career. Because God know's there are no singing Diva's today like the ones from the 70's and 8o's . I love you Jennifer Holliday.

    Posted by: Mel Williams | Dec 6, 2006 6:41:34 PM

  14. Jesus, Jennifer, get over yourself! You didn't "create" the role. The writer and composer did. You were lucky enough to be the first to play it, and by all accounts (so I've heard) you were damn good.

    Now move on.

    This is the entertainment industry. Integrity and fairness have no currency. You haven't learned that by now?

    Yes, you should have been invited to the premiere. That would have been a nice gesture.
    But the powers that be don't OWE you ANYTHING. It's every man for himself out here, babe. Get a clue. Nobody--NOBODY--cares if you "still gotta work." That's not anyone's problem but yours and your management's. So get over yourself.

    Cuz that's showbiz, kid.

    Posted by: John | Dec 6, 2006 7:04:13 PM

  15. I loved this post: "I just love the smarmy context this is put in. She goes "on and on." Yeah, like some people go on and on about Gyllenhaal and Reichen's every bowel movement." A-men.

    No, this site is not a "must." There are plenty of blogs by better writers who do not overly fawn or hate on others.

    Oh, and whoever called Jennifer an orangutan is a racist.

    John, you think you are quite witty, don't you--guess what? You aren't...

    Posted by: Chris | Dec 6, 2006 7:32:55 PM

  16. Did someone already mention that Ms. Hudson isn't so keen on the gay lefestyle?

    When asked if homosexuality in a sin, our new messiah (for one movie role - really?) told a Dallas paper:

    "According to the way we're taught, and what it says in the Bible -- it is."

    And Jesus wept. Hallelujah! Book this bitch for the next White Party!

    Posted by: the other jeff | Dec 6, 2006 7:43:10 PM

  17. I saw Jennifer Holliday in a play in Los Angeles titled "Your Hands too Short To Box With God". She was amazing in it. That was just before she went into Dream Girls. She then tried to lose the "Big" look and had a passable album after what happened? Bad agent? Temper Tantrums? She's a good actress and was on TV in guest appearances...but no stage work. It's a shame. Perhaps she's need someone to help her retool her goals.

    Posted by: condihater | Dec 6, 2006 7:52:47 PM

  18. They didn't invite her because they smell "TROUBLE". She is a ticking time bomb emotionally and the red carpet of the film premier would be distastrous PR. Sheryl Lee Ralph went to it. I don't know if she was officially invited or scored a ticket on her own.

    Jennifer is great. I saw her twice in the role of "Effie" and once with her understudy. The understudy recieved the nearly the same ovations as Holiday. The part itself and the signature song are just incredibly powerful.

    Remember years ago when Whitney covered a piece of "I'm Telling You" and Jennifer was all over the place saying "That's my song, she has her own"

    I think it was at the Grammy's in the early 90's.

    If she keeps blabbing it will come back and bite her in the ass.

    Posted by: clinton | Dec 6, 2006 8:05:41 PM

  19. I was just over at AOL where they're doing a little comparison between the two. If you listen to Hudson, while a powerful voice, she sounds like a wimpy, clinging little girl; whereas Holliday (in a 1982 Tony clip) sings like a tormented, desperate woman trying to hold things together. Holliday deserves more than she's getting.

    Posted by: condihater | Dec 6, 2006 8:57:21 PM

  20. D.I.V.A.! gurlz - the bitches are smokin' hot tonight. whoever said "sour grapes" was right on the money - all this harvest produced was a whole lotta cheap whine.

    Posted by: resurrect | Dec 6, 2006 9:05:13 PM

  21. The big problem here is that most people have not seen the original Dreamgirls to compare it to the movie so the movie will be the original to some viewers. It's a shame it was never captured on DVD and sold to the general public...this would have definately benefited Jennifer Holliday. The song, And I Am Telling You never received any airplay so it's not very well known. Will Jenifer Hudson be able to carry the role and deliver the emotion and convicton that Jennifer Holliday delivered?...Absolutley NOT!

    However, she will have her own fans follow her through and will have to earn her acceptance from the fans that saw the original and know how Efie should have been portrayed.

    Posted by: Carlos | Dec 6, 2006 10:40:54 PM

  22. For those of you who didn't see the original show, if ever you find yourself in New York, the New York Public Library has a library of Broadway shows on tape, including Dreamgirls with Jennifer Holliday. And, after reading so much slime, I was tempted to wreck quite a few of you. It's not worth it...but karma is a motherfucker.

    Posted by: CaliNexus | Dec 6, 2006 11:34:05 PM

  23. I'm just happy Holliday sang that song. I never even heard it until the year 2000. True story: I was living abroad with my lover (part of the same place, part of the same time) who could/would not get a visa to the USA. But i had that song in my ears: "You're the best man i've ever known...And i'm telling you, I'm not going." Maybe Holliday is a total nutter & a diva, i don't know. I don't care. I'm just glad for that song.

    Posted by: Daniel | Dec 7, 2006 12:10:59 AM

  24. They should have given JHol the role of Effie's mom!

    Mama: Effie! Dinner's ready, baby.

    Effie: Oh Mama I can't. I going to an audition for a girl group. Isn't that great? Mama? Did you hear me?

    Mama(deeply thinking): If I lock her in her room I could make that audition! Dammit they owe me!!

    Posted by: soulbrotha | Dec 7, 2006 1:33:21 AM

  25. Jennifer Hudson is to Jennifer Holiday as Katherine Mcphee is to Barbra Streisand - Nuff said...

    Well, actually to be fair to Hudson, she is closer to great than good while Mcphee is a paupers Linda Eder (who in turn is...) but neither of the two former American Idols and future "gay icons" have any of the emotional impact of Holiday or Streisand.

    In a better more balanced world, Holiday would have had a Streisand like career - She's that fucking good (I have both the original soundtrack and the film's and Holiday need not worry about who owns Effie-The second she opens her mouth god falls out and stays until the last note is sung) but for the variety of reasons already stated in previous posts (including a personality disorder) it never happened and she suffered the same fate as countless other women of color in the BIZ (Angela Basset anyone?) who shot out of the gate only to find they had no where to run.

    Posted by: Giovanni | Dec 7, 2006 1:57:24 AM

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