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Will Jennifer Hudson Do ‘Winnie’ Justice In New Biopic?


Some people don't know much about Nelson and Winnie Mandela other than the fact that they were the two people the characters Sandra and Elvin Tibideaux named their baby twins after on the long-running sitcom The Cosby Show. But, if you didn't know much about them before, you will get an opportunity to get a view, albeit perhaps a slanted one, of who they are in the upcoming biopic Winnie that comes out next year and features singer/actress and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.

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After the bounce

I have to be honest and say that news of Hudson playing South African activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in Winnie was more traumatizing for me to hear than Tyler Perry translating to film Ntozake Shange's work for his movie For Colored Girls (which I enjoyed, by the way). Don't get me wrong, I like Jennifer Hudson as an actress--moreso as an actress, really, than a singer. But, when I read somewhere that she didn't know much about the Mandelas prior to accepting the role, I cringed. That cringe turned to a mix of WTF and OMG when I read that even Ms. Madikizela-Mandela--the subject of the movie--was not thrilled because they didn't even ask her permission or even contact her prior to making the film.

The film, based on the independent biography Winnie Mandela: A Life by Anne Marie du Preez Bezdrob, is not only an unauthorized biopic but could possibly be a rewriting of history if those who its actually about don't have any say in it. Between that news and listening to Terrence Howard butcher a South African accent in the clip below as he plays Nelson Mandela, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. After you push play and watch the trailer, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments. Will you be checking this movie out or are you as dismayed as I am?


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17 Responses

  1. I have watched this trailer too many times, trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, but those accents are tragic.Coupled with the fact that Sophie Okonedo masterfully did this role justice in a BBC drama called 'Mrs Mandela.' the trailer feels like a lifetime movie. Though I think Jennifer is a decent actress, her skill as an actress is not honed enough for her to pull this off . ( I think her academy award was given to her primarily on the strength of her vocal performance and Oprah). I understand why they used her and Terrence as opposed to South African actors, but that would have been preferred.

  2. How the hell do ppl not know about the Mandela's? That's a crying shame....

  3. How come I kept waiting for Terrence to say "Mayne" at any moment? And the makeup for Winnie's aged face........hated it! SNL only has a few minutes between sketches to prepare makeup and wigs for their characters, and their makeup jobs are better than this.

  4. Terrence Howard's accent and old Winnie's makeup? Zero on the strength.

  5. Well entitlement, umbrage and indignation are pretty much a permanent state for Winnie (and frankly, who could blame her?) so she'll not like this one bit though from the tone of the trailer she may be relieved and flattered.
    Maybe a soft-focus version has its place, as you say, it's surprising how quickly people forget and a family friendly rendering of the underlying facts and history may earn its place, I just hope that a lot of people see it who wouldn't otherwise know about those things already.
    But I will never forget Sophie Okonedo's brutalised and brutal Winnie. Her story, and that of her country, is far from over.

  6. Jennifer Hudson's aged make-up look like Miss Jane Pittman's make-up
    I still don't know why the picked Terrance Howard for this role. Is it because no other distinguished Black Actor would have any part of this since it's unauthorized?
    His accent makes me weep.

  7. i think we should watch the movie first before judging so much!!! dang yall get on my nerves, and i bet this movie turns out to be very good..

  8. WTH??? *sigh* I am upset that Winnie doesn't approve and this is still going to happen. I think you should have some say so whether or not YOUR LIFE is portrayed on the big screen. You know at least be the head fact approver or something.
    Yeah and Terrence's accent is real sketchy and the make-up to add weight to Jennifer... sad.

  9. LMBAO @ Soulrifc's comment!! I can't even comment because I'm laughing so hard! LMMFAO!!!!

  10. As a person who loves south africa dearly. I will say this there is so much that people don't know about south africa. When i have college age students that don't know what apartheid is and don't dare ask them who nelson mandela is. It sucks that winnie did not apporove it, but hopefully some type of knowledge could be gained from it. That the movie will in turn urge people to find out for themselves more about the true history of not just winnie's story ,but the story of a people, a country.

  11. As a person who loves south africa dearly. I will say this there is so much that people don't know about south africa. When i have college age students that don't know what apartheid is and don't dare ask them who nelson mandela is. It sucks that winnie did not apporove it, but hopefully some type of knowledge could be gained from it. That the movie will in turn urge people to find out for themselves more about the true history of not just winnie's story ,but the story of a people, a country.

  12. I think she's a talented entertainer. Her lack of knowlege, prior to taking this role, shouldn't deminish how well she'll portray Winnie Mandela, IMO. I actually dislike Terrence Howard portraying Nelson Mandela more than Jennifer portraying Winnie Mandela. His voice and diction are always the same regardless of the character he portrays. I watched Law & Order:LA and turned when I heard him speak. Again, this is my personal opinion.

  13. iCant at these accents

  14. I agree it is sad Ms. Mandela did not approve this herself, yet it is still going to the big screen. Terrance Howard should not have been chosen for this role, and yes his accent is horrible. He does sound the same in most movies, outside of him being easy on the eyes he is not a good actor. Jennifer Hudson though Oscar winner, i believe is not ready for a role like this. Winnie Mandela needs justice. Sophie Okendo just played this role, and played it well. Does not have to be an American actress..

  15. Um, is this going to be a musical and no one told us?! Really disappointed in this cast. I have a sneaky feeling that Terrence Howard will not live up to the last actor to play Nelson Mandela on screen - Morgan Freeman.

  16. Wonder what the comments here would have been with a more positive post. Lets just be happy a movie about black people is being made without the usual stereotypical plotlines. I know ya'll have been to some of those same movies and didn't say shit about the acting. Spend your money where you want but I wouldnt be cool with myself paying to see "name that tyler perry movie" and not this.

  17. @Jay, unlike you, some folks are more discerning with what they choose to support when it comes to dramatic interpretations of the lives of real-life people. I think there are many valid reasons why folks may question the casting and production of this movie. Discussing it, however, does not mean that folks won't pay money to see it, though. So, I think you really need to relax.



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