The Queen of Soul received a posthumous honour on Tuesday, along with a surprise tribute from Jennifer Hudson.
Aretha Franklin, who passed away in August 2018, was awarded a special citation at the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Arts, Drama, and Music, honoured “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”
To pay tribute to the late soul icon, Hudson made an unannounced appearance at the ceremony, held at Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library in New York City.
Taking to the stage, Hudson delivered a soulful version of “Amazing Grace”, accompanied by a pianist and gospel singers to back her up, a performance reminiscent of Franklin’s amazing rendition of the song.
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Special surprise guest, Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Jennifer Hudson @iamjhud performing "Amazing Grace" at the Pulitzer luncheon @Columbia University today, in honor of 2019 #Pulitzer Special Citation awardee, the #QueenOfSoul @ArethaFranklin. @DonLemon @clivedavis . #PulitzerPrizes. #music. #ArethaFranklin Video by @spinitsocial
This is far from the first time that Hudson has paid tribute to Franklin, whom she has long regarded as a major influence and inspiration — and has signed on to portray Franklin in an upcoming big-screen biopic.
Earlier this year, she performed a medley of Franklin’s hits during the CBS special “Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul”. Watch: