*Jennifer Hudson has spoken out about her Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” competing with National Geographic’s limited series on the queen of soul.
The Oscar-winning actress shared a special connection with Franklin. Before her passing in 2018, the music icon gave Hudson her blessing to play her on the big screen.
Meanwhile, Cynthia Erivo has been tapped to play Franklin in Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hudson had this to say about the two projects: “I know that Aretha was adamant that [her life] be a film. If it’s not a film, it’s nothing. I’m just honored that she picked me to play her. I mean, who can say that? And again, I would have never done it without her wishes.”
Now is the time each one of us must raise our voice. It is so important to amplify this call to action.
This is about the future we’d like to see. It’s my hope that every single person who can vote is inspired to make their voice heard! #vote
— Jennifer Hudson (@IAMJHUD) October 20, 2020
“Respect” was set for release in theaters in August 2020, but has been pushed back due to the coronavirus. It will have a limited release in the U.S. on Dec. 25, before a wide release on Jan. 15, 2021.
The film’s director Liesl Tommy previously said this of Hudson, “Jennifer may be one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” she says. Adding, “we were both so humbled by the task that we just agreed that there would be no ego in the process and that Aretha would be the diva in the room at all times, not us.”
Months after filming wrapped, Hudson said this of Franklin: “I still feel like she’s in me, I really do. I just hope to meet her requests. You think you respect Aretha, but once you see the film and you learn her story, you can’t help but to have a newfound respect for her.”
Of her personal connection with Franklin, Hudson shared, “I still have the text chains, so every now and then I look back at them. The last time I spoke to her was Aug. 8, [2018,] and I can honestly say she sang until her last breath.”
Filming on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha has been halted after a background actor tested positive for COVID-19, Deadline reports. .
Genius: Aretha is slated to debut in early 2021.
‘Wendy Williams: The Movie’ Official Trailer of Biopic Released by Lifetime / WATCH
*Last year, Wendy Williams announced that she will producing a biopic about her life for Lifetime. While the network recently released the premiere date, they have just shared the official trailer for “Wendy Williams: The Movie!”
Wendy also announced the big release of her biopic this morning on her show and she could hardly contain her enthusiasm. It’s set to premiere on January 30 along with a two-hour documentary about the talk show QUEEN. Teaming with super-producer Will Packer for the project, it will chronicle her early days in radio, her rise to fame, and also tackle her split from her husband and business partner along with many other things.
Teaming with super-producer Will Packer for the project, it will chronicle her early days in radio, her rise to fame, and also tackle her split from her husband and business partner along with many other things.
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Celebrity Designer Jessica Rich Shares Behind-the-Scenes Look in Fashion World on Digital Reality Show
“BOSS AF” airs on IGTV at 3:00pm PST on Instagram @BOSSAFLA
*Celebrity fashion shoe designer Jessica Rich is giving her fans a full access pass into her life on her digital reality show Boss AF, which can be viewed on Instagram @BOSSAFLA.
The 10-minute mini-series is meant to showcase the day in the life of the young mogul and goes behind the scenes of the process of building her brand and working with high-profile VIP clients such as Cardi B, J.Lo, Kylie Jenner, Normani, and Saweetie while also juggling a personal life.
“I just feel like my life has always been very interesting because of juggling a lot of things since moving from Michigan and going to New York then making something out of nothing,” Rich said. “It’s a great behind-the-scenes story of a young entrepreneur’s life, the challenges she faces on a day-to-day basis and how she keeps it all together.”
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Last month, Rich opened her footwear store in The Beverly Center next to major brands Burberry and Versace. She plans to use the space to showcase and sell other Black brands she loves and believes in, alongside her own.
While she continues to grow her brand, Rich, who started out as a wardrobe stylist, admits her success hasn’t come easy.
“I started my brand with $1000 and here we are three years later opening a store at the Beverly Center that Giuseppe Zanotti used to be inside of. Everything seems so surreal, but I worked hard for these moments,” Rich said. “I want to continue to open different stores in different cities and then I want to also do a big collaboration with another designer such as Tom Ford.”
For more information on the Jessica Rich shoe collection visit Jessicarich.com and follower her on social media @jessicarichcollection and/or @jessicarich
Keke Palmer and Common to Host YouTube’s ‘Bear Witness, Take Action 2’ [VIDEO]
*Keke Palmer and Common have been tapped to host YouTube Original’s Bear Witness Take Action, 2 – premiering on December 5th.
According to the press release, the 2-hour program will highlight discussions on racial injustice, while inspiring viewers to “take action” toward equality and the protection of Black lives. This will be the second installment of Bear Witness, Take Action, with appearances by Anthony Anderson, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mark Cuban Jemele Hill and more, with performances by Patti Labelle, Rapsody and Saint JHN.
Check out the trailer above.
“The first Bear Witness, Take Action was very moving, and I’m excited to return for the second installment to continue these necessary discussions centered around racial injustices in order to nurture, enhance and protect Black lives. I’m looking forward to the talented and intelligent people we have joining us this time around for more compelling and impactful conversations that we believe will lead to action,” said Common.
“I’m honored to return to Bear Witness, Take Action and partner with YouTube in an effort to amplify Black voices and create the changes we need to see now. It is so important that we keep a dialogue about racial justice going beyond any particular moment,” said Keke Palmer. “I want to encourage my peers to continue to have thoughtful and powerful conversations that will lead us to change. Let’s talk about it, take action, and see change realized.”
The two-hour global conversation on racial justice premieres live Saturday, December 5 at 6pm ET / 3pm PT on the YouTube Originals channel. The special is produced by the SpringHill Company, Fly on the Wall Entertainment, Hudlin Entertainment and Byron Phillips. Reginald Hudlin serves as Executive Producer and Showrunner.
“Bear Witness, Take Action 2” programming includes the following:
- Musical Performances:
- Living legend Patti LaBelle
- Grammy-nominated recording artist Rapsody
- Multi-platinum recording artist SAINt JHN
- Intimate Panel Conversations:
- Why are athletes such a big part of today’s racial justice movement? Reporter and analyst Jemele Hill talks to WNBA 4X All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith and Dr. Harry Edwards, sports sociologist and activist, for more than half a century internationally recognized authority on developments at the interface of sports and society, about the history and future of athletes and political activism.
- What happens when a team owner talks to a major player about white privilege, civic responsibility and social justice? Find out when Dallas Mavericks owner (and Shark Tank star) Mark Cuban talks with 2x Super Bowl Champion, New Orleans safety & activist Malcolm Jenkins.
- Two political commentators, CNN’s Bakari Sellers and Peacock’s Zerlina Maxwell, look at the implications of the election results from a perspective you don’t see on other shows.
- Isabel Wilkerson, author of the CASTE, the hottest book of the season, sits down with journalist Soledad O’Brien to explain what it means to make our society more equitable.
- Soledad O’Brien also talks with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Founder and Executive Director of Essie Justice Group Gina Clayton-Johnson to talk about criminal justice reform.
- How do we deal with all the images of violence, the economic pressures of a failing economy, the isolation of quarantine, and social unrest around us? Mental health professionals Dr. Mariel Buquè, Dr. Joy Harden Bradford and YouTube commentator Tarek Ali talk about how to cope.
- Renowned philosopher Dr. Deepak Chopra goes deeper than politics to find the path to healing voices of hate.
- Entertainers have a long history of being political activists. We talk with some of the next generations of those actors/activists using their platform like Skai Jackson and Brandon Kyle Goodman.
- Teen activists Naomi Wadler and Mari Copeny talk with activist and educator Brittany Packnett Cunningham about how all three of them fight for change.
- Television host and Netflix’s “Queer Eye” star Karamo and YouTube creator ARROWS (formerly Ari Fitz) talk with National LGBTQ Task Force leader Kierra Johnson about the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality.
- Actor and activist Kendrick Sampson talks with Color Of Change President Rashad Robinson about concrete steps to take action and make change happen in the movement for racial justice.
“With voter participation in this year’s election hitting historical highs, people are looking for next steps to heal and transform society. “Bear Witness, Take Action 2” dives deep into changing laws, changing society, and most importantly, changing ourselves. The show transforms hearts and minds through honest conversations, expert insights and inspirational music and testimony that leaves you with concrete action plans that we can all do to make a difference,” said Executive Producer Reginald Hudlin.
“Bear Witness, Take Action 2” is part of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists and their stories. Over the next three years, this global fund will be used to acquire and produce YouTube Originals programming, and to directly support Black creators and artists to help them thrive on YouTube.
*via press release
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