Jennifer Hudson On Starring As Aretha Franklin In Biopic ‘Respect’

“It still feels like she’s in me.”

With her powerful vocals always leaving her fans in awe, it is only fitting that Jennifer Hudson will star as the late soul singer Aretha Franklin in her upcoming biopic Respect.

From her Oscar-winning role in the film Dreamgirls to her Grammy award achievements, Hudson has both the range and the vocal flexibility to bring the late music legend to life and was hand-picked for Respect by Aretha Franklin herself. 

RELATED: Aretha Franklin Announces That She's Decided Who She Wants To Play Her In A Biopic

After opening up for Franklin back in 2003 in Merrillville, Indiana, Hudson has had the pleasure of paying tribute to the vocalist many times since then including her special performance at Franklin’s funeral in August of 2018 and one of her most recent tributes during “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration For The Queen of Soul,” in 2019. 

As Respect hits the screens in December, Hudson tells People that filming the role has been a dream come true after picking up piano lessons as just one of the many ways to become the iconic singer.

"Aretha got me back in music school,” Hudson said.  “It's still a process, but the film has made me more passionate about learning an instrument and expressing myself musically."

Showing off her newfound talents on the keys during the 20th anniversary of the BET Awards on Sunday (June 28) Hudson performed Franklin’s rendition of Nina Simone’s song, “Young, Gifted and Black.”

"I still feel like she's in me, I really do," Hudson says of Franklin. "I just hope to meet her requests. You think you respect Aretha, but once you see the 

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.