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Jennifer Hudson's New Tune

The Oscar winner plays the lead role in a biopic about Winnie Mandela.

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Like many young moms, Jennifer Hudson is navigating her new life as a career woman and a caregiver. She’s got the first part down pat — the Oscar winner landed the lead role in the new film “Winnie” and is about to record her second album. And the caregiving comes naturally, but juggling it all has been a learning experience.

“It’s still very new to me. I don’t feel like I have the formula or the right answers just yet,” says the 28-year-old actress, who was recently in Cannes to promote “Winnie.” “But so far, so good.”

Just nine months after the birth of her first son, Hudson is heading to South Africa to shoot “Winnie,” a biopic focusing on the romance between Winnie and Nelson Mandela. (Terrence Howard plays the legendary antiapartheid activist.) Winnie’s devotion toward her husband during his imprisonment was what drew Hudson to the project. “Anyone could easily say: ‘You know, that’s your battle, you fight it,’” Hudson says. “But she decided to be a partner and stand up for what he believed in.” However, the Mandelas divorced in 1996 over allegations that Winnie was unfaithful while her husband was in prison. And the project has been criticized for glossing over the more unseemly aspects of Winnie’s political career, which include convictions for kidnapping and fraud. The Creative Workers Union of South Africa is upset the title role didn’t go to a South African actress, and Winnie has threatened to sue the filmmakers because she was not consulted in the making of the movie.

For her part, Hudson is taking it all in her stride. “I’m not here to pick a fight; I’m here just to reflect what was her story,” she says.

Plus, Hudson has more positive things to focus on right now. She’s planning to team up again with megaproducer Ne-Yo for her new album, and she has a duet with Leona Lewis on the “Sex and the City 2 soundtrack called “Love is Your Color.” She also recently became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers and has lost all her pregnancy weight.

What hasn’t she done? She smiles and says, “I would love to do something in fashion.”

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