Jennifer Hudson on Aretha Franklin: ‘She’s Still With Me, Almost Every Day in Some Way’

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

It’s just days away from the greatly-anticipated release of the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” in theaters, Jennifer Hudson, who plays the iconic singer, is busy promoting the project.

Hudson was hand-picked by Franklin to play her before she sadly passed away in 2018 after succumbing to pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

And it’s not something Hudson has taken lightly.

Hudson recently sat down for an interview with “Respect” co-author Carole King, where she spoke of her admiration for the late star.

“She’s still with me, almost every day in some way. Sometimes, coming off of the film, while taking pictures with someone, I’m like, “Oh wow, I’m smiling like Aretha.” Or “That response was more Aretha-like.” You identify little things like that in yourself that are still there,” Hudson explains to King.

“Or, a lot of my own personal wardrobe now is things that resemble things that she would wear — a lot of fluffy, furry little jackets with leopard prints and things like that,” she continued. “Those things helped me embody character at times, because clothing can make you feel like the character you’re portraying. And I still do the piano [after learning it for the film]. I’m still trying to master it. And guess what? The song I can play the most is “Natural Woman,” so far. I’m going to do it for you one day. Oh my God, I’m gonna play that.”

“Respect follows” Franklin’s meteoric rise from a child singing in the church’s gospel choir to a global megastar. Hudson sang the hymn “Amazing Grace” at Franklin’s funeral, 50 years after Franklin sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at Martin Luther King Jr.’s memorial.

Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess and Mary J. Blige also star in the movie, which will premiere in theaters on August 13. The movie soundtrack will also be released on the same day.

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