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Jennifer Holliday Performing at Stonewall Pride
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Jennifer Holliday

Jennifer Holliday shows Diva-Antics, but Still Delivers On-Stage
By Troy Maillis

Jennifer Holliday with Mark's ListAfter schedule changes and some “diva” behavior, Jennifer Holliday, the headline performer at this year’s annual Stonewall Street Festival, wowed the excited crowds with hit songs such as “One Night Only” and “I Am Changing” from the Broadway smash-hit “Dreamgirls”.  A seasoned performer for 30 years, Holliday kept the Wilton Manors crowds anxiously awaiting her performance, and some fans were not very pleased with Holliday’s “diva” behavior leading up to the performance.

 

“I can’t believe I’ve been waiting this long to see Jennifer Holliday. She only had one hit in her entire career, and she is pulling this,” one angry Fort Lauderdale fan said.

 

As they say, that’s showbiz.

 

When Holliday finally took the main stage on Wilton Drive, she did deliver when it mattered, with a voice just as powerful as it was when she made her debut on Broadway in 1981.

 

Holliday got her first big break almost 30 years ago when she landed the iconic role of “Effie” in Broadway’s production of “Dreamgirls”. After the song, “And I’m Telling You,” made Holliday a household name, she says her gay audience were the ones that were always loyal. 

 

“It started with the “Dreamgirls” phenomenon and it’s really been a love affair. A lot of the cast and crew were gay and it was during the time when AIDS was just starting,” said Holliday.  “AIDS took a lot of the people in the Broadway community back then, and it brought us all closer together. I only had one hit in my entire career, but the gay community made all of my other dance songs hits.”

 

Holliday’s career continued with mediocre success throughout the rest of the 80’s, and she even had to file for bankruptcy in 1987.  When asked what moment stood out the most with her gay fans, she gave a very interesting answer.

 

“If anything it would be a personal tragedy of mine when I had to file for bankruptcy, and this community pulled me back.  I worked with bars at three in the morning.  They worked with me, showed me respect and paid me well.”

 

Looking to the future, Holliday says she just wants to keep performing, continue her work in philanthropy, and have a balanced life. 

 

“People do really genuinely care about me.  They don’t just look at me as a ‘song’.  I know I’m a survivor and I know I haven’t done it on my own.”

 


 
 
Jennifer Holliday Performing her signature song: