Jennifer Hudson Honored at March of Dimes’ Celebration of Babies

Jennifer Hudson March of Dimes_Getty - H 2016
Jason LaVeris/Getty

Jennifer Hudson March of Dimes_Getty - H 2016

The Oscar- and Grammy-winning actress said of being a mom: “Once you have a child, every child feels like your child.”

Jennifer Hudson was joined by friends Chi-Raq co-star Nick Cannon (the evening's emcee), Kelly Rowland, Hairspray Live! co-star Derek Hough and others — including an unannounced Rev. Jesse Jackson — for honors at the starry March of Dimes Celebration of Babies soiree in Beverly Hills.

Hudson, a mother of one, came with fiance David Otunga and seven-year-old son David Jr. She was toasted with the Grace Kelly Award for her support of mothers, children and childbirth health. “That’s everyone’s dream, is to go home with a happy, healthy baby,” Hudson told THR on the blue carpet prior to the luncheon event. “Thankfully, I had a healthy, happy childbirth — but not everyone does.”

The Oscar- and Grammy-winning actress said of being a mom, “Once you have a child, every child feels like your child.”

Rev. Jackson, who doesn’t often make the Hollywood red- carpet scene, was the first famous name through the door Friday. He had glowing words for Hudson. “She’s taken her strength from her own pain to help other people. That says a lot about who she really is,” he said. “Jennifer is a marvelous person. I watched her grow up in Chicago, a neighborhood where we [had] 4,000 shot this year, and 700 killed. Her mother and brother were killed not long ago [in 2008].”

Brian Grazer, Jimmy Horowitz and Sir Lucian Grainge represented the Universal family, which had a big hand in organizing the event, with Irving Azoff, Horowitz and Grainge as co-chairs on the event committee. Universal Music Publishing Group’s CEO Jody Gerson was honored with the Inspiring Woman of the Year Award. Hollywood guests included Bryce Dallas Howard, Ellen Pompeo, Molly Sims, Elizabeth Banks and Monica Potter.

Hudson is rounding out a busy week, headlining Hairspray Live! on Wednesday, opposite Ariana Grande and Hough.

“Just getting to know her these past couple months, she is so full of heart, love, giving, and caring," Hough told THR of Hudson. She is an amazing woman who deserves so much. For her to be honored today, I’m happy to be here for her.”

Hudson’s next film, Netflix’s Sandy Wexler, co-starring Adam Sandler, is scheduled for a 2017 release.

Having a good time on the carpet was Cannon, who joked with THR about an ongoing Twitter feud with Dane Cook over Cannon’s recent public appearance wearing a pink turban. “I’m shooting my stand-up comedy special tonight. I’ve got some words for him,” Cannon said, with a broad grin, of Cook. “You’ll see. He’s going to get it.”

The March of Dimes’ Celebration of Babies is in its sixth year. The event netted $1.4 million for the decades-old charity, originally intended to combat polio, that has developed into a childbirth health protection resource, bringing together entertainment industry talent and executives to support women’s and children’s childbirth health.

Previous recipients of the Grace Kelly Award include Banks, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba.