Close
Date TimeMay 28, 2019
VoiceAn icon. A legend. A superstar. Aretha Franklin racked up plenty of honors when she was still with us throughout her many years in the entertainment industry. Even her homegoing—her funeral—was more a soulful, celebratory concert than a dour ceremony. And in the middle of that concert, that homegoing was Oscar-Award winning singer Jennifer Hudson.
Jennifer Hudson Honors Aretha Franklins Legacy at Pulitzer Prize Ceremony With Amazing Grace
Hudson, who is slated to portray Franklin in a film about her life (and who said she is learning the piano just to stay true in her portrayal), was the obvious choice to honor Franklin at Tuesday’s Pulitzer Prize ceremony in New York City at the Low Memorial Library on Columbia University’s campus.
But she almost didn’t make it.
Waylaid by turbulent storms and tornadoes in the Midwest, Hudson’s flight out of Chicago was canceled. But the singer remained undeterred. Making a way out of no way (which might as well be the black woman mantra at this point), Hudson endured a 14-hour road trip to get to New York City to perform for the the end of the lunchtime ceremony. She had no time for sound check. She didn’t even get to experience the awards. But she was there, as she was determined to honor a most honorable woman.
“I drove all night to get here,” Hudson said, talking to The Root about what it meant for her to perform at the Pulitzers for Franklin. “It blew my mind....To be a representation and also be there to witness such a thing, it’s a lot. But I do not take it lightly. I respect it. I understand it and I’m happy and honored to be here. To pay homage, to pay respects more than anything.”
Hudson, who performed a chilling rendition of the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” often sang by Franklin, brought church to the 103rd class of the Pulitzers, something that was done by design, according to Pulitzer Administrator Dana Canedy.
Jennifer Hudson Honors Aretha Franklins Legacy at Pulitzer Prize Ceremony With Amazing Grace
This year many of the honorees were not just journalists, but victims of gun violence themselves—as was the case of the student journalists recognized from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., which received a special citation for their reporting after a gunman killed five in their newsroom.
“There was a lot of suffering that went into the work that was produced,” Canedy told The Root. “Whether we’re taking about the Parkland kids and the application that they made to the Pulitzers or the Capital Gazette, and I wanted to do something to uplift everyone. My hope was that the musical part of this presentation would be uplifting and healing for people who were suffering but also in the midst of their suffering were doing unbelievable work in support of journalism I thought that was important and from the smiles and reactions and how deeply moved some people were I think we accomplished that and that makes me terribly proud.”
Jennifer Hudson Honors Aretha Franklins Legacy at Pulitzer Prize Ceremony With Amazing Grace
Hudson wasn’t the only one bringing church to the Pulitzers this year. Soprano Brandie Sutton brought her operatic chops to the stage, bringing the audience to their feet with two incredible performances that led to a standing ovation for the singer. In the audience, cheering both Hudson and Sutton on were luminaries like music industry icon Clive Davis—who accepted Franklin’s award alongside her long-time publicist Gwendolyn Quinn; designer B. Michael and singer/songwriter Valerie Simpson, as well as many prominent journalists, including CNN’s Don Lemon.
Hudson, someone who was deeply affected by gun violence in 2008 when her mother, brother and nephew were all shot to death in a heinous crime, spoke to The Root about the importance of those seemingly unaffected by gun violence to see things through the eyes of victims and survivors.
“It’s something that affects many but most unfortunately don’t understand until it happens to them, which is after the fact; it’s too late but it’s too much of a reality today,” Hudson said. “I feel like we can make more of a difference and a change when those who have not lost can look from the perspective of those who have lost.”
Canedy complimented this year’s crop of winners for persevering against the odds—both from the pain in their stories and from the criticism many reporters and writers are presently enduring in today’s combative, and at times, deadly, public sphere.
“My goodness, to be able to produce that level of work through pain and suffering is a testament to journalists and their commitment to a free and open press and to getting the news out regardless of the personal risk and the personal sacrifice,” Canedy said. “And that is exactly why American journalism will endure no matter what anybody says about fake news. Which, by the way, is not true at all.”

MacKenzie Bezos pledges at least half her wealth to charity
See exclusive first photos of Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman in Donna Tartt's 'The Goldfinch'
Britain's Got Talent hopefuls delight fans by bringing back Stavros Flatley
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington enters treatment for personal issues
Pokemon Go Snorlax is Now Sleeping
‘Game of Thrones': 5 things we learned from 'The Last Watch’ behind-the-scenes documentary
Housing minister Kit Malthouse enters race to be next UK PM
Inside the Warwick University rape chat scandal
Chernobyl: US President's FURIOUS reaction to nuclear disaster 'forced Soviets to change'
'The Bachelorette' recap: Hannah goes to the emergency room; Luke P. and Cam unravel
'Large and dangerous tornado' strikes near Dayton, Ohio
Miley Cyrus Says Her Black Mirror Episode Is ‘Outrageously Out There’
Aladdin casts box office spell
New Death Stranding Trailer Will Arrive Later This Week, Kojima Productions Confirms
Memorial Day: sweltering heat and storms follow tornadoes and flooding
Corbynism is now in crisis: the only way forward is to oppose Brexit | Paul Mason
European Elections 2019: Six Big Things To Look Out For
Kendall Jenner Soaks Up the Sun on Jet Skis With Luka Sabbat in Monaco
Natalie Portman calls Moby an 'older man being creepy,' denies relationship rumors
How yoga teacher Amanda Eller survived 17 days lost in a Hawaiian jungle
Sasha Obama stuns in fitted black gown for high school prom
Shami Chakrabarti warns police over Extinction Rebellion prosecutions
Auburn radio voice Rod Bramblett, wife Paula, die following car accident
Warriors open as massive NBA Finals favorites over Raptors in Las Vegas
Inside Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Low-Key Anniversary Dinner
Federal judge blocks Trump from using Defense funds for parts of border wall
Naomi Wolf admits blunder over Victorians and sodomy executions
‘Aladdin’: Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad’s New Character
Former Baylor coach Art Briles named head coach of Texas' Mount Vernon High School
'Delete Facebook now': WhatsApp co-founder gives a talk at Stanford
Feel no pity for Theresa May. She has been the worst prime minister in modern times | Owen Jones
Kylie Jenner Breaks Silence on Jordyn Woods Betrayal in Heartbreaking ‘KUWTK’ Clip
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Celebrate 5-Year Wedding Anniversary
Elon Musk's SpaceX raises over $1 billion this year as internet satellite production ramps up
Boris Johnson Says UK Must Be Prepared To Leave EU With No-Deal In October
Adam Levine is leaving 'The Voice'
Call Of Duty 2019 is just called Modern Warfare claim rumours
Theresa May Announces Resignation, New Prime Minister Will Takeover In July
Trump erupts, blows up meeting, as Pelosi pursues impeachment lite
New Aladdin movie is (almost) everything you could wish for
Jessica Alba 'stopped eating a lot' when she became an actress to ward off unwanted attention
Judith Kerr, beloved author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, dies aged 95
Turner 'Tfue' Tenney files lawsuit against FaZe Clan
Tornado in Jefferson City: Residents take to social media after powerful storm
House Judiciary subpoenas Hope Hicks and former McGahn aide
Joe Panik’s walk-off single lifts Giants to comeback before smallest home crowd of 2019
Indonesia election violence leaves six protesters dead and 200 injured as riots hit Jakarta
British Steel to enter insolvency after rescue talks with government fail
Manchester Arena attack: thousands to mark anniversary
Hatton Garden review, if only the real robbery had this attention to detail
Kit Harington Has a Game of Thrones Finale Rebuttal for Everybody Unhappy with Daenerys Targaryen
Jamie Oliver restaurant empire collapses, risking 1,000 jobs
Coca-Cola is bringing back New Coke in honor of 'Stranger Things'
How long can Nancy Pelosi hold off impeachment?
Jeff Bezos Builds a Moon Ship
Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost engaged after 2 years of dating
How good is the Game of Thrones finale?
Gentleman Jack review: Suranne Jones rocks Halifax as the first modern lesbian
Brooks Koepka basks in 'phenomenal run' after retaining US PGA title
American Idol Names a 2019 Winner
If Tehran wants to fight, that'll be the official end of Iran, Trump warns
Westworld season 3 trailer: HBO show takes whole different direction
Brexit party's funding must be investigated, says Gordon Brown
SpaceX will launch its first 60 satellites to deliver internet from space
Harry and Meghan share behind-the-scenes pictures of wedding
Kylie Jenner Finally Got Jordyn Woods to Come Pick Up Her Stuff
Omar Khayyam, Mathematics and Astronomy Ingenuous, Honoured by Google Doodle on His 971st Birth Anniversary
Country star Travis Tritt's tour bus sideswiped in crash that killed 2
Michigan's Justin Amash becomes first Republican to back Trump impeachment
Deontay Wilder targets Anthony Joshua after knockout win over Dominic Breazeale
Vincent Kompany to leave Man City and become Anderlecht player-manager
‘SNL’ newbie Ego Nwodim gushes over friendship with Leslie Jones
Justin Bieber & Ed Sheeran Drop 'I Don't Care' Video
Game Of Thrones Finale: Clue Could Mean Dany Dies In Episode 6, Season 8
US lifts steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico
‘Treason!’ Trump calls for ‘long jail sentences’ for investigators after Mike Flynn bombshell
Houses passes Equality Act to increase protections for sexual orientation and gender identity
Grumpy Cat Has Died At The Age Of 7
Why 'Black Mirror' needs Miley Cyrus
Britney Spears may never perform again, manager says
Boris Johnson confirms bid for Tory leadership
Bob Hawke, former Australian prime minister, dead at 89
Lady Gaga And Reese Witherspoon Join Celebrities Condemning Alabama Abortion Law
Bill de Blasio announces 2020 presidential bid
NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon
‘Game of Thrones’ set photographers seemingly forgot Jaime Lannister only has one hand
Virgin Mobile says it will compensate customers for service disruption
Inside Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney's Low-Key Engagement Party
Tim Conway, star of the 'Carol Burnett Show,' dies at 85
Pelicans primed for Zion Williamson after winning No 1 pick in NBA draft
Alabama passes bill banning abortion
NASA’s initiative to put a woman on the Moon is named Artemis, after Apollo’s twin sister
Doris Day dead at 97
Bitcoin tops US$8,000 as resurgence of cryptocurrencies goes on
Vodafone slashes share payout after posting 6.6bn loss
Robert De Niro swaps mean streets of New York for the back streets of Bolton for new Warburtons TV ad
WhatsApp flaw let hackers install spyware on cellphones
HBO’s Chernobyl miniseries comes with a message about ignoring facts
Rapper Kodak Black is arrested on firearm charges at Rolling Loud Festival
Facebook says it needs more regulation, not a breakup
Trump tells China to 'act now' on trade or face a 'far worse' deal in his second term
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Join Emma Thompson in ‘SNL’ Mother’s Day Monologue (Watch)
Jonas Brothers Happily Return to 'SNL' With 'Sucker,' 'Cool' and Surprise Throwback 'Burnin' Up'
Jessica Andrade stuns Rose Namajunas, Anderson Silva falls
Peggy Lipton: Twin Peaks and The Mod Squad star dies aged 72
Tony Blair Chips In With Advice On European Elections and It Won't Please Jeremy Corbyn
Elon Musk faces trial over 'pedo' tweet
‘Power Rangers’ actor Pua Magasiva found dead at 38
MLB trade rumors: Giants to deal Madison Bumgarner? Yankees in the mix?
Alyssa Milano calls for 'sex strike' to protest wave of anti-abortion bills
‘HE’S PERFECT!’: Kim Kardashian welcomes baby number four
Paul Lo Duca: '57 Chevy helped Billy Wagner get umpire Joe West to expand strike zone
Ben Shapiro ends BBC interview, scolds host: 'I'm popular and no one has ever heard of you'
James Charles: Tips and trips from beauty vlogger
Tyra Banks is back and on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated'
Harry and Meghan reveal royal baby's name is Archie
Tottenham superheroes achieved near miracle at Ajax, says Pochettino
Paul Pierce Farted On Michelle Beadle On TV
Kevin Durant exits Game 5 between Warriors and Rockets with calf strain
Ayesha Curry shows off new tattoo
Amy Schumer strikes Met Gala pose before heading to the hospital to give birth
Sandra Bland: Her phone video of arrest emerges
Kim Kardashian West helps free 17 inmates in 90 days
A’s potential Opening Day starter Mike Fiers already mentor to Jesus Luzardo
Falklands veteran 'forced out over sexuality' plans to sue MoD
Giant robotic arm catches SpaceX's Dragon cargo spacecraft
Microsoft is going to ship a full Linux kernel in Windows 10
Dow Jones Industrial Average Falls as Trump Tariff Threat Overtakes Earnings
Kendall and Kylie Jenner Wore Twinning Feathered Gowns to the Met Gala
Zendaya Transformed Into Cinderella On The Met Gala Red Carpet And I'm At A Loss For Words
Celebs try to out-camp each other at wild Met Gala
Max Homa's journey from $18,008 to $1.42 million
Met Gala 2019: Who is attending and how do you get an invite?
Sixers' Elton Brand nixed Ben Simmons-Magic Johnson meeting 'over a month ago'
‘Game of Thrones’ episode 4 recap: Cersei battles Dany for Iron Throne
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott Make Their Love Even More Permanent
Tesla boosts capital raise to $2.7 billion, Musk buys more stock
Rachel Held Evans, Voice of the Wandering Evangelical, Dies at 37
'SNL': Adam Sandler sings about being fired with Chris Rock, pays tribute to Chris Farley
Canelo Álvarez outpoints Daniel Jacobs to unify middleweight title belts
Nigel Farage Pranked By Teen As He Films Message For His Mother
It's Star Wars Day and SpaceX Just Launched Its Own 'Falcon' Into Space
Is Meghan Markle the New 'People's Princess?'
Tesla Model 3 police car makes an appearance at law enforcement tech conference
Explosion at Illinois silicone plant leaves 4 injured and 3 unaccounted
'Sonic the Hedgehog' director promises redesign after backlash, but changes could be costly
Dead to Me review – come back Desperate Housewives, all is forgiven!
Trump stresses importance of Russia’s steps to denuclearize North Korea - White House
North Carolina lawyer Cheslie Kryst named Miss USA 2019
Texas Officer Charged With Homicide For Shooting Black Man During Traffic Stop
Vampire Weekend: Father of the Bride review, a scrapbook of brilliant ideas
Shawn Mendes Drops New Single ‘If I Can’t Have You’ With Video (Watch)
Local Elections 2019: Tories And Labour Punished Over Brexit As Lib Dems Win Big
Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew dies aged 74
SpaceX's mission to the International Space Station delayed by electrical problems
Biden says Barr 'should' resign: 'He's lost the confidence of the American people'
Channing Tatum Posts Naked Shower Pic After Losing Jenga Game To Girlfriend Jessie J
Alex Trebek on his cancer: ‘My oncologist says I’m doing well even though I don’t always feel it’
Former Child Star Ricky Schroder Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Abuse
Jenelle Evans’ Husband Just Broke His Silence on Shooting and Killing Their French Bulldog, Nugget
Maluma: Madonna is 'a huge master'
Attorney General William Barr Acts as Donald Trump’s Human Shield on Capitol Hill
Shaun Edwards will leave post as Wales’ defence coach after World Cup
Bombardier to sell Belfast operations
Game Of Thrones' Sophie Turner Marries Joe Jonas In Las Vegas After Billboard Music Awards
Watch Jennifer Lopez' twins Emme and Max put her in the hot seat during cute video
Maisie Williams responds to THAT huge 'Game of Thrones' moment with the perfect Instagram video
Larry King is recovering in the hospital after undergoing a heart procedure
Trump sues Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block release of financial records
Glasgow airport: Flights resume after security alert on inbound plane
Football rumours: Rio Ferdinand to be Manchester United sporting director?
Let’s seize the moment and create a Green New Deal for the UK
This Elon Musk Comment Should Terrify Tesla Investors
Police: 8 shot, 1 fatally, in latest Baltimore shooting
Model Tales Soares Dies After Collapsing On Catwalk At Sao Paulo Fashion Week
Glastonbury resale: What time are tickets on sale and how do I get them?
Elliott wins NASCAR race at Talladega
Tony Slattery: ‘I had a very happy time until I went slightly barmy’
'Game of Thrones' Gaze Turns South in Episode 4 Trailer
The universe is younger and expanding faster than we thought, a new study found and we may need new physics as a result
SpaceX and NASA close ranks after the mystery crew capsule incident as details remain scant
San Diego police identify synagogue shooting suspect – video
Bruins victory over Leafs ensures an American team will hoist the Stanley Cup
Mo Farah Finishes Fifth In London Marathon After Controversial Week
NASA's InSight Mission Detects Its First Marsquake
Putin: Maria Butina's sentence is 'lawlessness'
Donald Trump to withdraw US from Arms Trade Treaty
'Avengers: Endgame' Star Chris Evans for Men's Journal Magazine
Fake heiress Anna Sorokin found guilty after fooling banks and New York's elite
World Championship 2019: Mark Selby loses to Gary Wilson
Sam Donaldson Explains How Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Lying Is Unprecedented
Idris Elba marries Sabrina Dhowre in Morocco
‘Santa Clarita Diet’ Canceled After Three Seasons at Netflix
Facebook investigated by New York AG over email harvesting
Joe Biden Announces 2020 US Presidential Bid
Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond will include Rami Malek as the bad guy
Parents of murdered AJ Freund, 5, ‘made him stand under freezing shower to punish him’
Stefanie Sherk, Actress and Wife to Demian Bichir, Dies at 43
NFL Draft 2019: Giants pick Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins LAUGHS and fans are shocked
Plan for Banksy art gallery in Port Talbot may be under threat
Close