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The 2021 BET Awards saw a lot of glitz and glam last night, and one of the brightest stars of the night was without a doubt celebrated singer/actress Jennifer Hudson.

The brown skin beauty took a minute to stop by Entertainment Tonight while on the carpet for interviews, and she made sure to not only pay her r-e-s-p-e-c-t to Aretha Franklin, but also give props to the late legend’s Gospel music roots as well.


“Did you feel the church in it? The spirit – the soul?” Jen asked veteran ET host Kevin Frazier (seen above) in regards to the sound of her new single, “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” continuing by adding, “I wanted to make sure that was the base and premise to everything, because Aretha was the gospel.” That she was! From “Mary, Don’t You Weep” all the way to her GRAMMY-winning live rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” The Queen Of Soul was without a doubt a woman of the Lord that sang His word every chance she got.

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In terms of the pressure of being handpicked by Queen Aretha herself to play the lead role in Respect, Jennifer also told ET, “That’s enough pressure… with her saying, ‘Jennifer, do this.’” However, the Oscar-winner also made it clear that Aretha’s “passing of the torch” and actually saying ‘You can do it’ gave her the ultimate strength and encouragement to try. Wo else to get approval from than the top!

Listen to Jennifer Hudson’s new single “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home)” below, and see if you can spot that gospel sound she’s channeling from Aretha throughout. Be sure to check for Hudson starring as Aretha in the upcoming biopic, RESPECT, arriving this summer.

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Jennifer Hudson Says Aretha Franklin Inspired “The Gospel” In Her New Single And Biopic Role  was originally published on