Due to inclement weather and a canceled flight, Jennifer Hudson feared she wouldn’t make it to the New York Pulitzer Prize awards ceremony to once again honor the late great icon, Aretha Franklin.
However, Hudson took a page from the Queen of Soul’s book- who infamously traveled by tour bus to all of her concerts and engagements- and decided to drive 13 hours to New York.READ MORE: Detroit Institute Of Arts' "Inside Out" Program Expands To 4 Oakland County Parks
“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 on 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 showcased her love for Franklin through a beautiful, soul-stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which prompted the crowd to give Hudson a standing ovation.
“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 passed away last August at 76, was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor. In doing so, she made history as the first individual woman to earn a special citation prize since 1930. The Pulitzer board said they awarded Franklin for “her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”READ MORE: Multiple Beaches, Including In Oakland County, Closed Due To Bacteria Levels
Musical collaborator and friend Clive Davis and longtime publicist Gwendolyn Quinn accepted the honor on behalf of Franklin.
Hudson will go on to play Franklin in an upcoming biopic.
“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.”
Before her passing, Aretha even gave Hudson her blessing.
“(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.’MORE NEWS: Detroit Police Officer, Suspect Killed In Shooting On City's West Side
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