A slimmer, sparkling Jennifer Holliday graced the small stage last night to perform a collection of songs for Harlem-based charity, Centre for Urban and Community Services (CUCS).
The former Tony and Grammy award winner was an instant hit with the audience of sponsors and community figures, performing her signature song from the Broadway classic, “Dreamgirls,” titled ‘And I’m telling you I’m not going.’
The star touched on some personal issues, including her dark days as a sufferer of depression.
“I grew with the song and it could take on special meaning for me,” she said. “More so than anything, I’m someone who’s suffered greatly from chronic depression and the fact that I can be here and stand, and have clarity of mind and peace of mind and to be able to sing for you is a wonderful thing.”
During the revival of some her classic hits, the Dreamgirl also joked about the issue of her weight loss.
“I’m really hungry right now so watch your hands with the food,” she joked. “But the greatest change has taken place on this inside and I think it’s a wonderful time in your life when you get to be at peace and find a sense of self so that you can help others.”
The CUCS event was held June 14 at The Prince George Ballroom in Manhattan to raise funds and awareness about the group’s latest ‘Going Green’ housing project.
CUCS’ mission is to end homelessness for as many people as possible and to provide opportunities for low income individuals and families, particularly those living with disabling conditions, to be productive members of the community.
When asked about her role with CUCS, Ms Holliday said she felt drawn to the group because of the issues they address within New York’s homeless community.
“Well mainly because they do service Harlem and the Bronx area. They have helped many and because they also support mental health causes and that’s one of my main causes that I’m an advocate for.”
She also emphasized the need to advocate for social awareness about such issues including enabling homeless people to reach out for help.
“One of the greatest things that I found out during my dark hours was that I had to learn how to reach out to friends and I didn’t know that there were people there who could help me and I suffered many years alone.”
Jennifer Holliday has been an active part of many charity groups and movements in her long career, including LGBT rights, mental health awareness and now CUCS’ ‘Going Green’ initiative.
It is not currently known if the former Dreamgirl is working on releasing a new album.
Check out a clip from the 2007 BET Awards where Jennifer Holliday and Jennifer Hudson teamed up for a rendition of the famous Dreamgirl ballad: