Jennifer Hudson to Play Aretha Franklin in Upcoming Biopic, RESPECT

Jennifer Hudson is set to play the iconic Aretha Franklin in biopic releasing in theaters, August 13, 2021.

Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis Tennessee. Her father, Reverend Clarence La Vaughn Franklin, was a Baptist preacher and her mother, Barbara Siggers Franklin a gospel singer. Franklin’s parents separated when she was young and a few years after that she lost her mother to a heart attack. When the Franklin’s moved to Detroit her father became nationally renowned as a preacher. Aretha was seen to some as a child prodigy because she was mostly self-taught. Gifted singer and pianist, one day Aretha would be crowned the ‘Queen of Soul’.

While traveling and recording, life on the road gave Aretha the opportunity to befriend legends such as Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke, it too had its concerns, thrusting a very young woman into the world of adult behaviors. By the age of twelve Aretha had her first son, and within two years later she had a second son. In all, Aretha had four sons.

In 1967 and 1968, Franklin churned out a string of hit singles that would become enduring classics, showcasing Franklin’s powerful voice and gospel roots in a pop framework. In 1967, the album I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You) was released, and the first song on the album, “Respect” — an empowered cover of an Otis Redding track — reached No. 1 on both the R&B and pop charts and won Franklin her first two Grammy Awards. 

It is often said that everything happens for a reason. It could be said that Jennifer Hudson manifested her role as Aretha Franklin many years ago when she chose to sing “Share Your Love with Me” for her American Idol season three audition. “Share Your Love with Me” was originally recorded by blues singer Bobby “Blue” Bland. The song was covered by different artists through the years, but most notably by Aretha Franklin. Aretha was awarded a Grammy for her 1969 rendition.

With her roots nestled in the comforting arms of gospel music, Jennifer Kate Hudson, born September 12, 1981 would grow to be one of the most memorable voices of our time. Jennifer has earned several awards throughout her career, Academy Awards-Oscar, Image Awards NAACP, Golden Globes USA, BET Awards, Grammy Awards and more. Now at thirty-nine she is ready to own the role of one of her idols, Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin first began to look at Jennifer Hudson as the woman she thought could best represent and tell her story on the big screen after Jennifer’s stellar performance in the movie Dream Girls. Aretha knew without question that Jennifer was the perfect pick when she took the theatre circuit by storm in The Color Purple. Aretha called Jennifer and told her without a doubt that she wanted her to star in the biopic.

Aretha believed that Jennifer could bring home an Oscar for both of them. Jennifer spoke of many calls and conversations of encouragement from Aretha, reminding her to be in control of her art, her voice and her talent. For Jennifer there were moments of anxiety that came with filling such legendary shoes. “It gave me the encouragement to get through it, but it’s still an inspiration because I didn’t want to let her down,” she explained “It’s personal to me, for that reason. One minute it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m so excited, and the next second it’s a bunch of anxiety.” – Eonline Able to pull from her own pain and life experiences, Jennifer related to Aretha Franklin as a person who has known a great deal of loss. “I don’t think I would have been able to dig that deep or connect in a way had I not been through things myself,” Hudson told InStyle.

Aretha died in her home in Detroit, Michigan on August 16, 2018 almost two years prior to the release of her long awaited biopic. “Aretha helped define the American experience,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement with CNN entertainment. “In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade – our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. May the Queen of Soul rest in eternal peace.”

Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from her humble beginnings to superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of Aretha Franklin’s journey to find her voice.