Tag: Jennifer Hudson

American Legend Aretha Franklin Laid to Rest in Epic Funeral filled with Detroiters and Dignitaries

via ap.com

Today was Aretha Franklin‘s homegoing service at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, MI. Some may have questioned why the Queen of Soul’s ceremony wasn’t held at her father C.L. Franklin‘s New Bethel Baptist Church (she did hold her final viewing there) – perhaps New Bethel just isn’t a big enough space for those attending her ultimate show. Because once again, the Queen sold out the house.

In a send-off equal parts grand and personal, an all-star lineup of speakers and singers included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, former President Bill Clinton, former first lady Hillary Clinton, professor Michael Eric Dyson, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry, Ron Isley, Chaka Khan, Faith Hill, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Ariana Grande, Gladys Knight, Shirley Caesar, mayors, senators, members of congress, family and loved ones.

Robinson, the Motown great, remembered first hearing Franklin play piano when he was just 8 and remained close to her for the rest of her life, talking for hours at a time. “You’re so special,” he said, before crooning a few lines from his song “Really Gonna Miss You,” with the line “really gonna be different without you.”

Bill Clinton described himself as an Aretha Franklin “groupie” whom he had loved since college days. He traced her life’s journey, praising her as someone who “lived with courage, not without fear, but overcoming her fears.” He remembered attending her last public performance, at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation benefit in November in New York. She looked “desperately ill” but managed to greet him by standing and saying, “How you doin,’ baby?”

Clinton ended by noting that her career spanned from vinyl records to cellphones. He held the microphone near his iPhone and played a snippet of Franklin’s classic “Think,” the audience clapping along. “It’s the key to freedom!” Clinton said.

Rev. Sharpton received loud cheers when he criticized Donald Trump for saying that the singer “worked for” him as he responded to her death. “She performed for you,” Sharpton said of Franklin, who had sung at Trump-owned venues. “She worked for us.” Dyson took it even further by saying, “She worked above you. She worked beyond you. Get your preposition right!”

Many noted her longtime commitment to civil rights and lasting concern for black people. Her friend Greg Mathis, the award-winning reality show host and retired Michigan judge, recalled his last conversation with her. They talked about the tainted water supply in Flint. “You go up there and sock it to ’em,” she urged Mathis.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced during the service that the city, come Tuesday, would rename the riverfront amphitheater Chene Park to “Aretha Franklin Park” to loud applause.  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder reminded those in attendance that Aretha Franklin’s voice is designated as a natural resource of the state in the 1980s.

Franklin died Aug. 16 at age 76. Her body arrived early in a 1940 Cadillac LaSalle hearse. She wore a shimmering gold dress, with sequined heels — the fourth outfit Franklin was clothed in during a week of events leading up to her funeral.

The casket was carried to the church that also took Franklin’s father, the renowned minister C.L. Franklin, to his and Parks’ final resting place at Woodlawn Cemetery, where the singer will join them. Pink Cadillacs filled the street outside the church, a reference to a Franklin hit from the 1980s, “Freeway of Love.”

Program covers showed a young Franklin, with a slight smile and sunglasses perched on her nose, and the caption “A Celebration Fit For The Queen.” Large bouquets of pink, lavender, yellow and white flowers flanked her casket.

Cristal Franklin, foreground left, hugs Vaughn Franklin as Victorie Franklin, left, and Jordan Franklin look on (photo via independent.co.uk)

Family members, among them granddaughter Victorie Franklin and niece Cristal Franklin, spoke with awe and affection as they remembered a world-famous performer who also loved gossip and kept pictures of loved ones on her piano.

Grandson Jordan directed his remarks directly to Franklin, frequently stopping to fight back tears. “I’m sad today, because I’m losing my friend. But I know the imprint she left on this world can never be removed. You showed the world God’s love, and there’s nothing more honorable.”

To see a large part of the almost eight-hour service, click below:

Oscar Winner Jennifer Hudson Joins ‘The Voice’ on NBC as a Coach for Season 13 

Jennifer Hudson (photo via variety.com)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to Variety.com, Academy Award-winner and former “American Idol” contestant Jennifer Hudson will join Season 13 of NBC’s “The Voice” as a coach.  She will be coaching along with Miley Cyrus (returning for a second stint) and regulars Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Hudson was the winning coach on the U.K. edition of “The Voice” earlier this year.

“Jennifer is an extraordinary vocal talent and one of the premier voices of our time. She embodies the experience, expertise, positivity and sheer talent that “The Voice” stands for,” said Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of NBC’s alternative and reality group. “Her exceptional skills as a singer and actress have extended to film, television and Broadway, which makes her an incredible addition and a natural fit for our show.”

Hudson was just on NBC in December with her show-stopping performance in the “Hairspray Live” musical, and just released a new single, “Remember Me,” Variety reported.

Aretha Franklin Announces Her Upcoming Biopic

Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin

article by Toni Akindele via essence.com

The Queen of Soul has a lot to celebrate. During the festivities of her 74th birthday at New York City’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, Aretha Franklin announced that her biopic, which faced several delays due to negotiations, has finally been given the green-light.

“I’m in the last of the negotiations, because we have agreed on the key things and the most important things,” Franklin told Huffington Post. “It’s some of the people that were involved in ‘Straight Outta Compton,’ and this is going to be ‘Straight Outta Detroit.”

And who has she casted to play herself? Well, Aretha can’t spill all the tea, but we do know she initially considered Halle Berry and then later named Audra McDonald and Jennifer Hudson as two potential Arethas.

“It’s been a long, long haul, but I think we’re right at it now,” Franklin said. “I spoke to the young lady about a week ago — I won’t say which one of the two it was — but I spoke to her, and she’s ready. We’re going to go forward with it.”

Denzel Washington is also rumored to play Franklin’s father in the film, but all will be revealed in due time.

The film will be based on the singer’s upbringing and legendary career while also shedding light on her personal relationships, including her abusive marriage to Ted White. Plans for this project have been in play since 2011 and Franklin is excited to have been given creative control.

Fan Favorite La’Porsha Renae May Not Have Won “American Idol,” but she Landed a Record Deal

FOX
La’Porsha Renae and Season 15 “Idol” winner Trent Harmon (photo courtesy of Fox)

article via clutchmagonline.com

To much surprise, La’ Porsha Renae did not win last night’s final American Idol season. But don’t fret. Look at the great singers who haven’t won, like Jennifer Hudson.  La’Porsha has landed a record deal, that will no doubt propel her career.

Fox

La’Porsha Renae will be joining the Universal Music Group family, signing with 19/Big Machine/Motown Records, in partnership with Big Machine.

“Because of the overwhelming fan demand and success of the farewell season of American Idol, we have made the decision to sign both the winner, Trent Harmon, and runner-up, La’Porsha Renae, to exclusive recording agreements,” Big Machine Label Group founder and CEO Scott Borchetta tells Billboard. “I can’t think of a better way to bring this American institution to a close. Everyone at the Big Machine Label Group, the Universal Music Group and Motown Records are so thrilled with the outcome and can’t wait to get to work.”

Renae’s album will be overseen by Ethiopia Habtemariam, president of Motown and president of urban music/co-head of creative at Universal Music Publishing Group, who tells Billboard, “We are extremely excited to partner with Big Machine and 19 Entertainment on such an incredible talent as La’Porsha.”

In case you’re not familiar with the power of La’Porsha, check out her stirring performance of “No More Drama” on “Idol” below:

Amazon Studios Acquiring Spike Lee Film “Chi-Raq” as Its 1st Release

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon Studios says it has acquired Spike Lee‘s new film as its first Amazon Original Movie.

The film, with the working title “Chi-Raq,” features a cast including Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Jennifer Hudson and Teyonah Parris, as well as D.B. Sweeney, Harry Lennix, Steve Harris and Angela Bassett, plus John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson.

“Chi-Raq” was shot entirely in Chicago and wrapped last week. Directed by Lee, it was co-written by Lee and Kevin Willmott. It focuses on violence in inner-city Chicago.

Amazon Studios’ Ted Hope said, “It would be impossible to find a better filmmaker” than Lee to launch the studio with.

Amazon Original Movies, announced in January, was formed to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release as well as distribution to its Amazon Prime members.

article via blackamericaweb.com

Jennifer Hudson to Make Broadway Debut as Celie in “The Color Purple” Revival

Jennifer Hudson performs during the Pinoy Relief Benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Jennifer Hudson performs during the Pinoy Relief Benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar to her name but might need to make room for a Tony Award, as she is reportedly set to star in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple.

According to the New York Post, Hudson will make her Broadway debut in the revival of the show. The revival is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, who also produced the show in 2005.  This time, the production of The Color Purple musical will have more of an emotional appeal.

“This Color Purple comes from London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, which specializes in stripping down big-budget Broadway shows, giving them an emotional punch they lacked the first time around,” the New York Post reports.

Hudson has talked about wanting to take on a Broadway gig for several years. New York Postsources say Oprah called her personally and asked her to join the production.

Hudson will play Celie, who survives abuse, poverty and racism to become a successful seamstress and pants designer. LaChanze won a Tony in the role in 2006.

article by Chris Witherspoon via thegrio.com

Michelle Obama’s 50th: First an AARP Card Tweet on Friday, Then Last Night, “A Fun, Fun Party”

michelle obama-aarpFirst Lady Michelle Obama spent Friday, January 17th – her actual birthday – out of sight, with no public appearances, except the tweet of a photo of herself holding up her AARP card. She tweeted, quote, “Excited to join Barack” in the 50-plus club today . “check out my @AARP card!”

But last night, January 18th, Beyoncé and Stevie Wonder rocked the White House at a star-studded, late-night dance party celebrating Obama’s 50th, two guests told the Chicago Tribune today.  President Barack Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha joined family friends, elected officials, entertainers, athletes, business executives and big donors at the gala, which kicked off Saturday and lasted until the wee hours Sunday morning, the sources said.

The event was closed to the press, and the White House did not release a guest list or any other details. But two guests spoke to the Tribune on condition of anonymity, describing a bash at which a deejay kept people on the dance floor in the East Room until after 3 a.m. Washington time.  VIP guests, according to sources, included political luminaries Bill and Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, national security adviser Susan Rice, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Democratic National Committee official Donna Brazile.

Other high-profile guests included Sir Paul McCartney, Magic Johnson, Chicago-born actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, singer Janelle Monae, actor Kal Penn, TV personality Al Roker, actress Ashley Judd, tennis great Billie Jean King, retired Olympic figure-skater Michelle Kwan and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, the sources said.

Continue reading “Michelle Obama’s 50th: First an AARP Card Tweet on Friday, Then Last Night, “A Fun, Fun Party””

Jennifer Hudson Receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Jennifer Hudson

By her own admission, Jennifer Hudson is having a “fantastic and surreal year.” The Oscar and Grammy winner, who received a star today, Nov. 13, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her music work, kicked off 2013 with a trifecta of high-profile performances: the presidential inauguration, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards.

And as the year winds to a close, she shows no signs of slowing down, conquering all aspects of media. Television? She dropped in on NBC’s Smash for a multi-episode arc. Music? She just released her new single “I Can’t Describe” from her upcoming third studio album. And movies? Hudson has no fewer than three this year, with her long-gestating Winnie Mandela biopic Winnie released in September, followed by The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete, and the upcoming Black Nativity.

It’s the latter film that marks Hudson’s first movie musical since her 2006 film debut in Dreamgirls, which went on to win Hudson an Academy Award for Supporting Actress. She admits that after the success of that film, many movie musicals came courting. “But I was always ‘No, no, not now,’” she says. “And I don’t want to be typecast, because this industry is quick to box you in and say, ‘OK, everything you do should be a musical.’ So I’m very selective.”

But there was something about the message of holidays and family in Black Nativity that persuaded Hudson. A modern retelling of the Nativity story with an all-black cast, Black Nativity is based on Langston Hughes’ acclaimed play, which made its Broadway debut in 1961. Hudson plays the single mother of a troubled teen (Jacob Latimore) who is sent to spend the holidays with his grandparents, played by Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett.

Continue reading “Jennifer Hudson Receives Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame”

Soul Train Music Awards Bans Lip Syncing From Upcoming Show

Producers of the 2013 Soul Train Awards are guaranteeing viewers an “100 percent live” show. According to Billboard, this year’s vocalists — Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Knight, Tamar Braxton, Candice Glover and Ruben Studdard — will have to bring their A-game because lip syncing is officially banned from the urban music celebration.  “100 percent live,” executive producer Bart Phillips said. “No tracks here.”

Phillips explained that the new rule was put into place to keep Soul Train’s legacy alive. “So many legends were made on the infamous Soul Train stage,” he said. “The music is the core and that is what keeps Soul Train relevant today, both with the people who grew up running to their TVs on Saturday morning and to today’s youth.”  He went on to reveal this year’s motto: “We got soul.”

“It’s a party! People aren’t going to want to miss this,” he added. “We have so many surprises planned. It’s all about the 90s this year!”  Rapper Kendrick Lamar racked up the most nominations with a total six, including best new artist, album of the year and song of the year.  The award show, which will be taped on November 8th in Las Vegas, will air on BET December 1st.

article by Myeshia Essex via blackamericaweb.com

Celebrities Show Their Support For Obamacare With #GetCovered

Kerri Washington #Get CoveredCelebrities are taking to social media outlets to show their support for the new “Obamacare” law in a big way. Using the #Get Covered hashtag, they are trying to help educate the public on how they can begin to sign up for health care.  

Many of the newly eligible citizens that will be signing up will in fact be getting health care insurance for the very first time so this is really cool to see.  Singer John Legend tweeted:

“F the shutdown. The Health Insurance Marketplace is now open in every state. Don’t wait another day to #GetCovered!”

Pearl Jam tweeted:

“If you want to make sense of the whole healthcare thing, or just want to #GetCovered, check out http://www.healthcare.gov #KnowYourOptions,”

Some celebrities are taking photos of themselves with the #Get Covered hashtag and posting them like the ones below (actress Kerry Washington is pictured above). 

Get Covered Collage

Funny or Die created a “Scandal” spoof called Scandalous with Jennifer Hudson to get people information about the new ACA (Obamacare) program and how to sign up for it. Click here to see that video.)

According to Huffington Post, comedian John Hodgman and actress Martha Plimpton used their Twitter streams as Obamacare forums. Plimpton spent time retweeting messages from her followers saying what they like about the law, while Hodgman’s stream included young adults tweeting about health problems they had encountered.

Tweeted Hodgman:

“Young people: sign up for healthcare. Take it from me–YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL,”

 It’s great to know that some people embrace their platforms and try to do good things with them. Let us not forget celebrities are members of society too! They do care about the world they live in just the same as anyone else does. They do have a voice.

article by Skyyhook via theurbandaily.com