Feeling Aretha's Spirit, J Hud Honors Icon at Pulitzers

Jennifer Hudson said she felt the spirit of the Aretha Franklin _ who refused to fly but traveled by tour bus to concerts _ and drove 13 hours to make the Pulitzer Prize ceremony Tuesday after her flight in Chicago was canceled because of bad weather.

By Associated Press, Wire Service Content?May 28, 2019
By Associated Press, Wire Service Content?May 28, 2019, at 7:05 p.m.

安博电竞官网 www.haorencar.com Feeling Aretha's Spirit, J Hud Honors Icon at Pulitzers

The Associated Press

Singer Jennifer Hudson sings "Amazing Grace" in tribute to Aretha Franklin, who received a special music citation during the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners awards luncheon at Columbia University, Tuesday May 28, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) The Associated Press


NEW YORK (AP) — With bad weather in Chicago on Monday and her flight canceled, Jennifer Hudson fretted at the thought of missing her performance at Tuesday's Pulitzer Prize awards ceremony to pay tribute to honoree Aretha Franklin.

But then Hudson said she felt the spirit of the Queen of Soul — who refused to fly but traveled by tour bus to concerts and events — and drove nearly 13 hours to New York to make the luncheon.

"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 in an interview with The Associated Press. "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."

Hudson embodied Franklin's spirit and vocal prowess as she brought the ceremony to church with a rousing, fiery performance of "Amazing Grace," bringing the audience of journalists to their feet.

"She's always with me, I feel," Hudson said of Franklin. "I always keep her in my mind and in my heart, and try to lead in a way that I know that she would want me to."

Franklin, who died last August at 76, was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor Tuesday, becoming the first individual woman to earn a special citation prize since the honor was first awarded in 1930. The Pulitzer board said the award was given to Franklin for "her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades."

Collaborator and close friend Clive Davis and longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn accepted the honor on behalf of Franklin's family.

South Florida's Sun-Sentinel won the prize in public service for its coverage of last year's mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and staff were killed. Pulitzer Prizes were also awarded to the staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for breaking news reporting, the Los Angeles Times for investigative reporting, while Reuters and The Associated Press were both honored for international reporting.

Dana Canedy, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said her favorite submission was from the student journalists from the Parkland school for their own coverage of the tragic shooting and powerful obituaries of those who died.

Hudson posed for photos with the students at the luncheon held at Columbia University, which also featured performances by Damien Sneed and Brandie Inez Sutton.

She also spoke to the students backstage about the effects of gun violence. One of the students told singer that experiencing a mass shooting is a club no one wanted to be a part of.

"Exactly. And you have no choice," said Hudson, whose mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew were shot to death in 2008. "No one knows when it's gonna happen or who it's gonna happen to and you never know how life changing it is until it happens, but the only way we can ever make a difference is for those who have not experienced it, to look from the perspective of those who have. And that's when the change will happen, you know?"

Hudson, an Oscar and Grammy winner, will play Franklin in an upcoming biopic. She said she always felt connected to Franklin.

"Even when I auditioned for 'American Idol,' I sang 'Share Your Love with Me' by Aretha Franklin. ...I'm like, 'Wow! It's like her presence was always there,'" Hudson said. "Even when I did 'Dream Girls,' they were like, 'What's going to be the next big role that you would play, or that you feel could measure up to this?' Fifteen years later, it has manifested."

"(Aretha) called me when I was on Broadway and she was like, 'And I've made my decision, and it is you.' I was like, 'Yes ma'am, I'm ready. I will give it every bit of my all,'" Hudson continued. "That's why I had to get on that road trip last night to get here, because if I said I'm in, I'm in.'

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Related Articles

Best States

States' Push to Legalize Sports Betting Differs by Region

Best States

Oregon Lawmakers Still Missing

The Civic Report

Betting on the Rust Belt

Best States

Housing Unaffordable Across U.S.

National News

Missouri’s Last Abortion Clinic Fights State

National News

Supreme Court Allows 'Peace Cross'


U.S. News Ranks the Best States

See if your state made the cut.

Casey LeinsMay 14, 2019

The 10 Best U.S. States for Education

These places are the best in America for educating students at all levels.

Casey LeinsMay 14, 2019

Wildlife Sanctuary Upgrades Expected to Promote Research

Upgrades to a wildlife sanctuary on North Carolina's Outer Banks are expected to attract groups of scientists to carry out long-term research.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

Body of Fisherman Found in Quaboag River in West Brookfield

The body of a fisherman has been pulled from a Massachusetts river.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

The Latest: Guilty Verdict in Visiting Chinese Scholar Death

Jurors have convicted a former University of Illinois doctoral student in the slaying of a visiting scholar from China who was abducted at a bus stop as she headed to sign an off-campus apartment lease.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

The Latest: Missouri Abortion Clinic License Fight Continues

A St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic is taking a battle over its license to perform abortions to a state panel.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

Plows Try to Reopen Colorado Mountain Road After Summer Snow

A high-elevation road that traverses the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado is closed after a rare summer blizzard left ice and deep drifts.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

AP NewsAlert

Former Illinois doctoral student convicted in federal death-penalty trial of slaying visiting Chinese scholar.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

New York Gov. Cuomo to Make 3rd Trip to Israel This Week

Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans on making his third trip to Israel since taking office.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

Health Care Giants UPMC, Highmark Reach 11th-Hour Agreement

Two western Pennsylvania health care giants have a deal that averts the looming break-up of their business relationship, preventing disruption and higher costs for many patients.

Associated PressJune 24, 2019

Best States

Best States is an interactive platform developed by U.S. News for ranking the 50 U.S. states, alongside news analysis and daily reporting. The platform is designed to engage citizens and government leaders in a discussion about what needs improvement across the country.