Every once in a while I run across a story that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Take this one for instance, where Jennifer Holliday essentially plays both the “pity” and “anger” card over not being more involved with the movie adaptation of Dreamgirls. Holliday played the original Effie in the hit 1980s Broadway show upon which the movie is adapted from. Holliday won a Tony award when she was 21 but based on some of her quotes she now feels slighted on the eve of the Dreamgirls release. For instance:
“I had just felt like they had taken everything away from me, had ripped my legacy from me.”
According to the article this is in response to Paramount’s decision to not use her for publicity for the movie and to feature her original version of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” in the movie’s trailer. She also complains that this new version of Dreamgirls wipes out the 25th anniversary of her role in the original musical. Allow me to break this down point by point:
The Trailer: Yes, it would have been kinder for them to use the Hudson version (which is fantastic) if that’s all they were going to involve you in. Point Holliday there. But you didn’t write the song and Paramount can market however they feel is best. Also, doesn’t your version being used help you in some way to recapture some of your original acclaim? It seems like having your music featured on anything that’s in the public eye could be considered a positive.
Not using you in publicity: The article mentions some negative indicators (though it does do offhandedly and without follow-up) such as “Representatives for the studios said they offered to host a private screening for her, which she declined” and “(during the Broadway run) The young gospel singer was reportedly difficult, deeply unhappy and troubled.” Folks, that’s industry speak for “she was a nightmare to work with.” That type of reputation follows you and it seems Paramount took a “why bother” stance.
The 25th Anniversary Snub: If anything the movie celebrates that. I personally had not heard of the musical before the movie so clearly word wasn’t getting out. The movie, in my opinion, sets the stage for Holliday to again emerge as a musical force. If her work in the original is as strong as everyone says she’ll get caught up in the coattails of this new Dreamgirls and everyone will profit.
One final quote from the diva:
“This is a hopeless situation. I am being canceled out as an artist.”
Hmmm. It seems as though you’ve cancelled yourself out (almost quite literally in fact when she attempted suicide at age 30). I’d get on board this Oscar train before it’s too late. Call Jennifer Hudson. Congratulate her. Be glad another young artist is getting a chance at stardom like you did so many years ago. Be gracious. Perhaps you should consider that’s something you owe to Dreamgirls.