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Jennifer Hudson Exclusive: On Acts of Kindness, Her Mastercard Partnership, and Season 2 of ‘The Jennifer Hudson Show’

It isn't hard to change someone's day for the better.


We all know the Golden Rule: Treat others how you’d like to be treated. It’s safe to say most everyone wants to be treated with kindness — but what does kindness mean? If your definition of generosity is grand gestures, like gifting someone a dream vacation, the Golden Rule may be a little harder to follow. Big acts of kindness are wonderful if you can afford them, but they’re not as sustainable as small acts of kindness, like sharing a word of encouragement. Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to kindness, either. Being told you’re valuable can be worth more than being given something valuable.

Celebrity and world-renowned performer Jennifer Hudson is no stranger to grand gestures, but she says it’s the little ones that make the biggest difference in people’s lives. In an exclusive interview with FIRST, Jennifer Hudson opened up about the importance of everyday good will in her personal and professional life. Keep reading to learn what she thinks about acts of kindness, along with updates on her partnership with Mastercard and season 2 of The Jennifer Hudson Show.

Jennifer Hudson Stands Up To Cancer

Jennifer Hudson not only talks the kindness talk — she also walks the kindness walk. She’s demonstrating the power of small acts of kindness by partnering with Mastercard for their Stand Up To Cancer campaign. From May 22 to July 15, a portion of Mastercard purchases will be donated to Stand Up To Cancer, an organization that funds cancer research to help the millions suffering worldwide. All you have to do is swipe your Mastercard, and you’re contributing to life-changing research. See her in their newest commercial below:

Keep reading to see how Jennifer Hudson lives the campaign by making kindness a part of her routine.

AJ: Why are small acts of kindness just as important as — or more important than — large gestures?

JH: Because it starts with us, individually. And if everyone is doing their part, there are numbers. That is coming together. We’re all strong on our own, you know what I mean? But if you’re doing your part on your end, and I’m doing my part on my end, that means we’re still coming together, you know, and it shows that all of our hearts and minds are in the right place. We know we’re working together on the same court.

What is your favorite small act of kindness to do for others?

Encourage each other. I love to meet people where they are and encourage them in what they do. Everyone is their own individual. We all have our own perspectives and goals. And it’s okay to lend power and encouragement to everyone even if that’s not your passion. That’s one of my favorite things about what I do — being around people who are passionate about what they do, and that’s where I get my inspiration from. We can help drive and feed each other through our own personal journeys and passions. I love just letting people as much encouragement and goodwill as possible.

What is a time that someone else’s small act of kindness made a big difference for you?

So many times. Growing up and being in school — my teachers invested in me. When people invest in you, that means they care. And all I need is just a little bit of encouragement, just enough to get me on my way. I’ve been blessed to have a lot of support [for] my goals and dreams, even from an early age, coming up in church. And that is why I love to encourage the youth anytime I can, to let them know that positivity is acknowledged. I don’t feel like positivity gets enough credit or acknowledgement. Let people know their positive gestures and efforts are cheered on or supported. I think those things are important to do.

Your talk show, The Jennifer Hudson Show, has been renewed for a second season. What can viewers expect in season two? 

You know what, I’m gonna get better at life. I got my feet wet in the first season. Learning a lot — it’s new ground. And it’s through encouragement that I’ve been blessed to do that and now headed into a second season. I just wanted to continue to be what I like to call “the happy place” that everyone can come to. A safe place. A place where we meet you where you are. No matter what you’re going through, we’re all living life. And if you don’t know nothing else, you know you got support at the Jennifer Hudson show. I dream up new dreams every day. Like one day I may have a dream to have [a certain] guest, and then I may be inspired about what’s happening in the now, which is why it’s good to just keep on watching.

As someone with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award — an EGOT — a prestigious achievement only 18 people have accomplished — you’re no stranger to all kinds of performance. How is being a talk show host with a live audience different from singing and acting on stage and screen?

Wow, you know what, each one is different. And that’s what I’ve been doing through this whole season. Like, how is this different? What is you know, but it’s a new and completely different world and experience. I feel like the connection between the host and the audience is like no other. We feed off of each other’s energy. Thankfully, I’m a person that lives and thrives off of energy. So each and every time I walk out there, I’m lifted up by the energy of the crowd and the audience and I hope I do the same for them. And you know, we’re creating great memories. 

It’s been an amazing journey. I don’t even know how to specify [the difference], because I’m still learning. How can I put it into words? For one, I get to be me. I think that’s the biggest difference. That’s a huge reason why I wanted to do the show. I’ve done film and people have seen me as a character. I’ve sung songs, and you hear my voice, but I want you to get to know the person and I want to get to know everyone else’s person. So I feel like it’s different in that way because you get just flat-out Jennifer.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers today?

Continue to know that you’re not alone. Know that you are enough. And as I’m saying this, I’m saying it to myself. We are mighty by ourselves, but we’re even more powerful together. When I look on the side of me and I see each one of my sisters it makes me that much more empowered.

Obviously Jennifer Hudson brims with talent, but she’s also full of humility and joy. If you feel inspired and want to see more of her, catch The Jennifer Hudson show every weekday afternoon. Visit her website to see the channel and times it airs in your area. Don’t want to wait? Check out clips on YouTube @JenniferHudsonShow.

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