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Jennifer Hudson reflects on raising a Black teen son: 'Wearing an afro is a statement alone'

'Being a mom of a Black son, you have to make him conscious of and aware of certain things—who he is within the world,' said Hudson.

Jennifer Hudson reflects on raising a Black teen son: 'Wearing an afro is a statement alone'
Cover Image Source: David Otunga Jr. and Jennifer Hudson attend the premiere of MGM's "Respect" at Regency Village Theatre on August 08, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Jennifer Hudson is cautious in the advice she gives to her son David and his friends. The EGOT winner appeared on the September 2023 cover of Real Simple, where she discussed bringing her 13-year-old son David Daniel Otunga Jr., along with a group of his cousins and friends, to the White House to perform at the first Juneteenth ceremony.

"I want my son to be a part of those things—and his cousins and friends. Little David has a really big heart, and he always wants to include them. So I said, 'I’ll sing, but I have to bring my boys,'" the 41-year-old mother said. "And I told the guys, 'When you all get old and you have children, you’re going to say, 'I was there for the first Juneteenth.' And to be able to sing for it—that’s something I will never forget.'"

Jennifer Hudson (R) and son David Otunga Jr. attend the 2017 NBCUniversal Upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 15, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Jennifer Hudson (R) and son David Otunga Jr. attend the 2017 NBCUniversal Upfront at Radio City Music Hall on May 15, 2017, in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Hudson returns to her talk show, "The Jennifer Hudson Show," for a second season as her teen begins high school. "David and I joke that we’re both starting a new school year! My son has a busy schedule, and I love to be there for him, so I’m learning how to juggle this newness. It used to be I’d hold your hand and take you to the park. Now it's like, 'How do I mother you?' Figuring that out. And how do we exist in this new space?" she shared.

She also reflected on what it is like for her son to grow up in a place where the majority are white. "My son goes to a predominantly white school, and he has giant hair, a whole afro. He loves to walk in there with the big old ’fro and the pick in his hair. And I’m like, 'Do you realize the statement you’re making? Know that just wearing your hair like that is a statement alone,'" Hudson stated.


 
 
 
 
 
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Raising a Black son is different, she noted. "Being a mom of a Black son, you have to make him conscious of and aware of certain things—who he is within the world. And there are so many layers he has to learn! But he’s at an age where he can fully understand it. And he’s so evolved beyond what I could ever imagine," she said. Hudson shares David with her ex, David Otunga, a professional wrestler in the WWE and Harvard Law graduate whom she divorced in November 2017 after ten years together. The proud mother claims that her teen son is "very rooted in who he is and okay with that."

Hudson appreciates that David and the other boys know how to behave. "Well, I'm blessed – he's a good kid. As all my boys know, you got to know how to act and behave. The more responsible you show to be, then the more you're allowed to do. For little David, my biggest thing is getting his priorities in order," she shared. "Knowing education comes first, clean your room, and help take care of home. Learn how to help out and contribute. Those are things that he is learning."


 
 
 
 
 
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"It is the best feeling in the world, no words can describe it," the "Respect" actress said to Oprah on becoming a mother soon after the birth of David, her first and only child, in 2009. Hudson has largely kept her son out of the spotlight over the years, posting only a few glimpses of him on social media. "He's the cutest thing in the world!" the Grammy-winner shared with PEOPLE about her son soon after his arrival. "There are no words for it. He's the best. It's just amazing—us discovering each other, me becoming a mom."


 
 
 
 
 
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