Jennifer Hudson’s voice has the power to truly move audiences—and she did just that with her performance of Amazing Grace in tribute to the late Aretha Franklin.
The Grammy-winning singer and actress sang a rendition of the Gospel tune at the Pulitzer Prize luncheon at New York City's Columbia University Tuesday. The event honored the Queen of Soul, who posthumously received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. The award makes her the first-ever individual woman to earn a special citation prize since the awards began (!).
According to the Pulitzer board, Franklin was given the award for "her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades."
In a clip posted to her Instagram, 37-year-old Hudson can be seen on stage, in a black and white dress, showing off her powerful vocals with a stunning rendition of the hit song.
The performance was reminiscent of Franklin's incredible 1972 performance of the same song—which is the inspiration for the upcoming documentary about Franklin. This isn’t the first time Hudson paid tribute the icon—she also sang a salute to Franklin during a televised tribute event in March.
Hudson told the Associated Press that after her flight to the event was cancelled, she feared she wouldn’t make it in time. “I looked up and I thought, ‘You know what, it’s like Aretha’s spirit is in me. She didn’t believe in flying, she would drive,’” Hudson said. “I got here in time, five minutes early to sing, because I wasn’t going to miss it. Honey I said, ‘If I got to walk, if I got to crawl, I’m going to get there.’ And here I am—so it’s in my heart.” Wow.
We couldn’t have thought of a better way, or person, to honor the music icon.