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.”
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