DETROIT – I loved Jennifer Hudson’s voice from the first note she sang in American Idol.
Seeing her now on the big screen play another iconic role is exactly where she belongs.
I couldn’t think of a more perfect person to play Aretha Franklin than Hudson. I had never met her before Sunday and I have even more respect for her artistry now more than ever.
She and I first met at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History on Sunday afternoon before the film’s premiere.
Read: “Her mind was in the movie” – Aretha Franklin relatives respond to biopic after Royal Oak premiere
Read more: Aretha Franklin star biopic arrives in Metro Detroit for private screening of ‘Respect’
Hudson made sure to stop and take photos with everyone in attendance before we were all invited for a chat with her and the film’s director, Liesl Tommy, hosted by the museum director.
From there, close friends and family of Aretha Franklin were invited to a private premiere which Hudson would also attend.
As a friend of Aretha, it was like a big family reunion. When Jennifer arrived, we chatted in front of the camera before seeing the movie.
Respect is a wild ride that captures pivotal moments in Aretha’s life and career.
Mary J. Blige, Forrest Whittaker and Marlon Wayans were excellent as you would expect. What struck me was that the star I saw on screen was completely different from the one I had just spoken to on the red carpet.
His speech, his manners, his walk had all changed to become Franklin.
It was remarkable. Let’s not even forget the singing. I was dazzled. A perfect mix of music and storytelling.
On Monday, I got to sit down with Hudson and Tommy to really dig deep into the movie. We laughed as Hudson and I shared memories about Franklin and the messages she would email or text us.
If you love Franklin, or even want to know more about who she was as a person, respect is a must.
It shows Detroit in a good light and tells the story of the true queen of soul and her rise to fame.
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