Respect is a new biopic that covers an iconic female performer, Civil Rights Activist, and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.
It will star another icon in her own right, Jennifer Hudson, as Franklin. This is not her first time acting, and has also been in films like Spike Lee’s Chi-raq and in the first season of the Fox hit series: Empire. Given her background as a singer, her acting chops and what we’ve seen of the film so far, I’m certain Hudson will be excellent. The film also stars Forest Whitaker (Star Wars, Black Panther) and Tituss Burgess (The Unbreakable Kimmy Shmidt.)
According to Billboard, the film has had a rough journey, being originally slated for release in the fall of 2020, and has been delayed several times due first to the pandemic and then because of a number of other factors. Thankfully, the film is finally set to release so we’ll get to see the film that’s been in the works for so long.
Director Liesl Tommy makes her feature film debut with Respect. She’s previously been known for directing plays. Tommy is the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for Best Direction of a Play in 2016 for Eclipsed, and is an Associate Artist at the Berkeley Rep and an Artist Trustee with the Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees.
With a story by Callie Khouri (Oscar® winner for Writing, Thelma & Louise) and Tracey Scott Wilson, and screenplay written by Tracey Scott Wilson. Wilson and Tommy have worked together creatively since the 2009 play The Good Negro written by Wilson, directed by Tommy at The Public Theatre. Wilson was a writer on FX’s hit series: The Americans which garnered her a Peabody Award as well as an Emmy® and WGA Award nominations.
The film is set to release in theatres on August 13, 2021. To watch the new trailer, click HERE.
JENNIFER HUDSON ANNOUNCES ORIGINAL SONG FROM ARETHA FRANKLIN BIOPIC RESPECT: “HERE I AM (SINGING MY WAY HOME)” CO-WRITTEN WITH CAROLE KING OUT FRIDAY
RESPECT ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK OUT AUGUST 13 VIA EPIC RECORDS
IMPACTING RADIO ON JUNE 21
Academy® Award-winning actress and GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist Jennifer Hudson announces a new original song entitled “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” co-written with four time GRAMMY® Award winner, Kennedy Center Honoree, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Carole King (marking their first collaboration) and Jamie Hartman [Lewis Capaldi, Christina Aguilera] out Friday. GRAMMY® Award-winning Black Eyed Peas co-founder and mega-producer will.i.am produced the track. Hudson announced the collaboration on her social platforms this morning – HERE.
Paving the way for Hudson’s blockbuster bigscreen turn as Aretha Franklin, it will appear on the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to RESPECT and serve as the film’s only original song. Hudson was handpicked by Franklin to portray her in the film from MGM, which opens in theatres nationwide on August 13. The soundtrack will be available on the same day.
Get “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” HERE Friday via Epic Records.
Pre-order the Soundtrack HERE.
Hudson added, “Music is such a living and breathing character in this film, as it was in Ms. Franklin’s life. The process of creating this song was like constructing the greatest tribute I could possibly offer to her spirit. It was the final exhale of this extraordinary project and one that I let out with complete fulfillment. Being able to do so with Carole and Jamie was an incredible privilege. Carole is one of the greatest songwriters of all time and, whether we were trading stories, playing piano together over video conference, or working through lyrics, it was always a masterclass – both in life and music. Jamie and I have collaborated together in the past and it’s always so wonderful to create with him – he is continuously thinking outside of the box in a way that deepens the musical experience in indescribable ways. Our goal was to show that music was always the anchor for Ms. Franklin, in all that she did, and I hope this song illustrates the strength of her voice – both literally and figuratively – which always brought her home.”
About the collaboration, King commented, “Writing a song with Jamie Hartman and Jennifer Hudson felt both familiar and fresh at the same time. The process of songwriting continues to amaze me. One minute there’s nothing, and then a song grows out of the seed of an idea. The seed was dormant when Jennifer, Jamie, and I first met virtually. Jennifer and I had previously performed together, and I was excited about writing with her for no less than a film called Respect in which Jennifer plays Aretha Franklin! I’m so pleased to have not just one but two songs as part of the soundtrack of Respect-the 21st century song “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” and my 20th century co-write with Gerry Goffin, “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.”
Epic Records Chairwoman and CEO Sylvia Rhone said, “What Jennifer, Carole, and Jamie have created together is nothing short of historic. It celebrates the legacy of Aretha Franklin by channeling her spirit and style in an original, no less. As soon as I heard it, I was speechless. It has all the elements of a future American songbook staple.”
“Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” highlights Hudson’s earthquaking range with a seismic crescendo. Right out of the gate, she proclaims, “It’s time for me to sing” over glorious church organ before twinkling piano wraps around her vocals. It officially impacts Hot AC and Urban AC on Monday June 21.
One of the biggest, boldest, and brightest voices in contemporary music, Jennifer Hudson stands alone. Not only is she a two-time GRAMMY® Award winner and best-selling author, but she has received an Academy® Award, a Golden Globe®, and countless other honors as an actress. Her self-titled 2008 debut Jennifer Hudson earned a platinum certification, the 2011 follow-up I Remember Me went gold, and 2014’s JHUD drew a GRAMMY® nod. She has starred in films ranging from Dreamgirls and Sex and the City to Chi-Raq and Sing, in addition to taking over Broadway in The Color Purple, for which the soundtrack garnered Hudson another Grammy win. Along the way, she became a best-selling author and served as a coach on The Voice UK and U.S. In 2019, she appeared as Grizabella in the big-screen adaptation of Cats, and she also contributed “I’ll Fight” to the critically acclaimed documentary RBG, garnering an Academy® Award nomination. In 2021, she stars as Aretha Franklin in director Liesl Tommy’s highly anticipated biopic Respect, of which she is also an executive producer. Franklin personally chose Hudson to star. She will be releasing new music soon.
Jennifer Hudson and RESPECT dazzled the crowd Sunday night at a premiere fit for a queen
Celebrating the legacy of Aretha Franklin was director Liesl Tommy and costars Marlon Wayans, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Audra McDonald, Tate Donovan, Hailey Kilgore, Saycon Sengbloh, Skye Dakota Turner, screenwriter Tracey Scott Wilson, producers Scott Bernstein, Jonathan Glickman and Stacey Sher, and more.
Other guests included Timbaland, Jennifer Holliday, Debbie Allen, Michael K. Williams, Tori Kelly, Derek Hough, Jordin Sparks, and more
After the premiere, attendees celebrated outside, complete with food trucks and music from Donald Taylor and the LA Mass Choir. Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter Grace Franklin graced the audience with her grandmother’s favorite song, “Ain’t No Way,” and Aretha’s son Edward Franklin sang “My Girl.”
Find out what it means.
IN THEATERS AUGUST 13
Following the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.
DIRECTOR: Liesl Tommy
SCREENPLAY BY: Tracey Scott Wilson
STORY BY: Callie Khouri and Tracey Scott Wilson
PRODUCERS: Harvey Mason Jr., Scott Bernstein, p.g.a., Jonathan Glickman, Stacey Sher
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Jennifer Hudson, Liesl Tommy, Sue Baden-Powell, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth
CAST: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Marc Maron, Tituss Burgess, Kimberly Scott, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan and Mary J. Blige
FROM METRO GOLDWYN MAYER PICTURES, IN ASSOCIATION WITH BRON CREATIVE AND ONE COMMUNITY
From MGM, Respect follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, Respect is the remarkable true story of Franklin’s journey to find her voice.