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