As the third anniversary arrives of Aretha Franklin’s passing, Jennifer Hudson is starring as Aretha Franklin in the Respect movie. Aretha Franklin, known as the “Queen of Soul,” has been remembered as an inspiration and an all-time great. The cultural icon’s 1967 signature song, “Respect,” became a rallying cry for the US civil rights movement.

The most beautiful thing about the film is that Franklin’s wish was for Hudson to play her in a biopic. After Hudson won the Academy Award for best-supporting actress for her role in “Dreamgirls,” Hudson and Franklin developed a tight-knit friendship filled with weekly convos.

“Every artist, every musician, you’ve got to cross paths with Aretha, especially if you want to be great,” Hudson said in a video interview from Chicago, where she lives; her gray cat, Macavity, prowled in the background. “She’s always been present in my life in some form, even when I didn’t know it.”

Franklin and Hudson share many struggles and life experiences outside of the celebrity limelight. The two singers grew up singing in church and suddenly lost very close family members. Hudson has always paid tribute to Franklin, including using Franklin’s song for her “American Idol” audition in 2004 and singing at her funeral. Now she is, of course, following through with Franklin’s wishes by starring in Respect.

“This is beyond singing and acting,” Hudson said. “I think she saw something in me…I would not have been able to go as deep as I did to tell the story in an honest way without my own life experiences. So, I think she saw that in me, as well as everything else as far as being an actress and a singer.”

The movie setting begins in Detroit in 1952 with the 10-year-old Aretha being pulled out of bed by her father, pastor C.L. Franklin (Forest Whitaker). Downstairs there is a huge party where young Franklin is forced to sing along with an interaction from Pastor Franklin that exposes his toxic character. Without spilling too much tea, the movie proceeds to show Aretha’s life filled with hardship, which doesn’t get any easier when the 20-ish Aretha lands a record deal.

The supporting cast includes Marc Maron as producer Jerry Wexler, Marlon Wayans as Ted White, Aretha’s abusive husband and manager, Audra McDonald as Barbara Siggers Franklin, Aretha’s mother, and Forest Whitaker as C. L. Franklin, Aretha’s father.

Having been selected by Franklin to portray her, Hudson earned her flowers in this role. Unfortunately, like many movies released over the pandemic, Respect will not be available on any streaming platforms yet! However, fans reading can find venues and purchase tickets