Gun violence can happen to anybody, says singer Jennifer Hudson

Gun violence can happen to anybody, says singer Jennifer Hudson
Pool via CNN
Jennifer Hudson performed Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" at Saturday's march in Washington.

Singer Jennifer Hudson says she’s standing by the March for Our Lives protesters. After all, she knows all too well that gun violence can “happen to anybody.”

In 2008, Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were fatally shot by her brother-in-law. In an interview with CNN’s Van Jones on Saturday, she described how watching tragedies like the Parkland, Florida, shooting unfold was “almost like reliving it over and over again.”

“It’s obviously something extremely close to home. … You instantly connect,” she told Jones. “There’s very few people who know what a moment like this means. What it represents. Everything that it entails. I can’t help but be affected by it.”

Hudson said it’s “almost impossible” to understand what the victims’ families are going through “unless you’ve been in it.” But the threat of gun violence, she said, is ever-present.

“For people who are watching … know that it can be anybody,” she said.

“To me, the saddest thing is no one ever reacts until it happens to them, and then it’s too late,” she added.

Hudson told Jones that in the immediate aftermath of the Florida shooting, she was particularly moved by watching a CNN interview with Lori Alhadeff, the mother of 14-year-old Alyssa, who was one of the 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In the video, Alhadeff turns to the camera and shouts her grief, and makes a passionate plea to President Donald Trump to “do something now!”

“I understood every inch of her frustration,” Hudson said.

“She’s pouring out. I could hear it. I knew where it came from. It’s like reliving it. And I was like, unfortunately, ‘welcome to my club.’ My heart completely went out to her. I was like, you’re not alone. I understand everything you’re feeling,” she recalled.

“It’s not easy to keep seeing,” Hudson continued. “What is it gonna be? Next week? Next month?”

The singer told Jones that when it came to honoring her family’s memory, and coping with her own grief, she had found that “starting organizations, communities, foundations, things to prompt promote change can be healing.”

“It’s like, what can I do, that I know, even though they’re not here, they would be proud of. And then how can I continue to represent them in a way they would want to be represented and remembered,” she said.

That’s why, she described, she so acutely understood the motivation behind the March for Our Lives campaigners.

“I love so much that they’re using their everything to make a difference. And they know their power to say, you know what, we’re not just going to sit here. We’re going to turn this around. They know that they have the power to do that,” she said.

As for Hudson’s performance of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin'” at Saturday’s march in Washington, the singer told Jones that the song’s lyrics said it all.

“The times are a-changing. What else is there to say? To me, it’s not a song. It’s a movement,” she said.