Watch Jennifer Hudson's Powerful Tribute to Aretha Franklin at Pulitzer Prize Ceremony

Jennifer Hudson surprised the crowd at the Pulitzer Prize luncheon with a tribute to Aretha Franklin.

The Pulitzer Committee honored Aretha Franklin at the 2019 Pulitzer Prizes for Arts, Drama, and Music "for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades."

As a special surprise, Pulitzer Prize administrator Dana Canedy called Jennifer Hudson to the stage at Columbia University at the end of the program to closed the show with a musical performance.

JENNIFER HUDSON'S TRIBUTE TO ARETHA FRANKLIN

Hudson gave a powerful rendition of the Gospel classic immortalized by Franklin - Amazing Grace.

Hudson had previously sung at Franklin's funeral, and at a Grammys tribute to the Diva of Soul.

Hudson was handpicked by Franklin herself for the lead in the biopic, "Respect."

THE PULITZER'S STUNNING LINE-UP

Hudson closed the program, but the audience had previously been privileged to hear a performance of Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood," Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" and the spiritual "Hold On" by Brandie Inez Sutton, a soprano for New York's Metropolitan Opera.

THE PULITZER PRIZE

The Pulitzer Prize is an awarded for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition and it was established in 1917. Canedy explained the inclusion of Franklin in the prestigious roll of honorees:

"Like people and institutions throughout America, since her death, we’ve been reflecting on her life and work and contribution to American music and society, and it was in that spirit we were really honored to be able to do this." 

A RARE HONOR FOR ARETHA FRANKLIN

The special citation awarded to Franklin is a rarity, and only 43 special citations have been granted by the Pulitzers since 1930.

Franklin is the first woman to have been awarded a special citation, joining the distinguished company of fellow musicians John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams.

Franklin passed away on On August 16, 2018, at her home in Detroit, the victim of a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor. Franklin was 76, and had dedicated her last 62 years to her music.

JENNIFER HUDSON TO STAR IN ARETHA FRANKLIN BIOPIC

In January 2018, it was announced that singer and actress Jennifer Hudson would be portraying  Aretha Franklin in a movie about her life.

Hudson was handpicked by Franklin herself for the lead in the biopic, "Respect."

“It is an absolute honor to be a part of bringing Ms. Franklin’s story to audiences who adore her around the world. She is one of the most iconic and talented artists of all time and what a dream come true it is to portray her extraordinary life on screen." Hudson said.

There have yet to be any further cast announcements for the film.

Related posts
Getty Images
Royal Aug 21, 2019
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle Slammed for Using Private Jet after Urging Supporters to do 'Good'
facebook.com/Dancing with the Stars
TV Aug 21, 2019
'Dancing with the Stars' Reveals the Cast for Season 28 of the Show
Getty Images
Relationship Aug 21, 2019
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Lauren Hashian Could Have Married a Year Ago but Put off the Event
Getty Images
Kardashian Aug 21, 2019
Khloé Kardashian Jokes about True & Chicago Discussing 'Vacation Calories' While Snacking in the Bahamas