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Man Of The People

Trailer For Aretha Franklin Biopic Starring Jennifer Hudson Released

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On Sunday, MGM released a teaser trailer for Respect, its upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic starring Jennifer Hudson. The film explores the Queen of Soul’s life from childhood to worldwide recognition.

In the trailer, Hudson sings Franklin’s signature song, “Respect,” which went to number one on the Billboard charts in 1967. The song was written and originally released by Otis Redding in 1965. “Respect,” which won Franklin two Grammy Awards in 1968 for "Best Rhythm & Blues Recording" and "Best Rhythm & Blues Solo Vocal Performance, Female," became a rallying cry the women’s movement and is considered one of the best songs of the R&B era.

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The first look at the film shows Franklin’s rise to superstardom and her struggle to be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry. In one scene, we see the singer tell a condescending record executive to call her Miss Franklin after he addresses her as Aretha. Franklin, who was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

The film, scheduled to be released in the United States on Christmas Day, also stars Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Marc Maron, Kimberly Scott, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Heather Headley, Skye Dakota Turner, Tate Donovan, and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington, Franklin’s mentor and inspiration.

Respect, directed by Liesl Tommy, the first Black woman ever nominated for a Tony award for best direction of a play in 2016 for Eclipsed, was written by Tracey Scott Wilson, a writer on FX's The Americans. Wilson won a Peabody Award as well as Emmy and WGA Award nominations for her work on The Americans. The trailer debuted during Sunday night's BET Awards at which Hudson performed Franklin's "Young, Gifted and Black."

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Franklin, who was involved with the development the film, died on August 16, 2018, a year before filming began. The trailer also shows Franklin active involvement in the struggle for civil rights and women's rights. Franklin was also a strong supporter of Native American and First Nation rights.

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