Inside Jennifer Hudson's Preparation for the 2020 BET Awards Where She Performed in an Emerald Green Dress

Stephen Thompson
Jul 03, 2020
02:30 P.M.
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American singer Jennifer Hudson performed Aretha Franklin's rendition of the protest song, "Young, Gifted and Black" by Nina Simone, at the 20th BET Awards Ceremony and shared pictures of her performance with fans on Instagram. 


The 20th BET Awards held on June 28, 2020, and this year's edition was special, given that it was held virtually due to COVID-19, and also marked the 40th anniversary of "Black Entertainment Television."

Jennifer Hudson was among the artists to perform at the virtual awards ceremony, and her performance was all so special, with the gifted singer performing Aretha Franklin's version of the song, "Young, Gifted and Black," written by Nina Simone. 

Jennifer Hudson at the NBCUniversal press day during the 2016 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 2, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images


Jennifer Hudson, who stars in the upcoming biopic, "Respect," portraying the late musical legend, Aretha Franklin, took to her Instagram page to share pictures of her breathtaking performance. 

The photos showed the singer in a lovely green dress surrounded by her backup singers, who were dressed in white. Also accompanying her post was a message about Breonna Taylor, who was shot on March 13, 2020. It read

"Breonna Taylor's name is no longer trending, and the police that murdered her still free. If you see this, please repost." 


The message ended with the singer making a call for the arrest of the officers involved in Taylor's shooting, namely, Brett Hankison, Jonathan Mattingly, and Myles Cosgrove. 

Hudson spoke to PEOPLE in the online publication's latest weekly issue, where she shared details about her lead role in the Aretha Franklin biopic. The singer recalled with fondness the time she opened up for the late singer in April 2003. 

The performance was coming just before the release of the new teaser trailer of "Respect," which follows Aretha Franklin's life.


Hudson said she had paid tribute to Franklin on so many occasions but that each time she did so, it always felt like it was the first time. 

By performing Franklin's rendition of Simone's song at the BET Awards, Hudson also showcased a new skill she learned while preparing for her role in "Respect." About that, the singer said:

"I started piano lessons. Aretha got me back in music school. It's still a learning process, but the film has made me more passionate about learning an instrument…"


Before Hudson's graceful performance at the Awards ceremony, host Amanda Seales introduced her, noting that the words of the song were still viable in today's world. 

Appearing in her emerald green Reem Acra gown, Hudson did not disappoint as she began the soulful song while playing a white grand piano, with her gospel backup singers supporting her. 

The performance was coming just before the release of the new teaser trailer of "Respect," which follows Aretha Franklin's life from the days of her birth until she reached stardom. 

The fact that the BET Awards held virtually did not stop most of the award's protagonists from dressing for the occasion, and putting Black designers in the spotlight, which was great to see.