Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Jennifer Hudson Drove 14 Hours Last Night from Chicago to NY So She Could Sing a Tribute for Aretha Franklin at Pulitzer Prize Ceremony


Jennifer Hudson– this is who she is. She drove 14 hours last night from Chicago to New York so she could sing for Aretha Franklin at the Pulitzer Prize ceremony this afternoon.

JHud literally peeled the paint off the walls with a stunning version of “Amazing Grace.” She told me afterwards: “What could I do? They cancelled all the flights. I said, We have to get there, Let’s go!”

Jennifer and her team piled into an SUV and said, “Driver, New York, please!” It was well worth the trip.

She sang in front of all the 2019 Pulitzer winners including fiction winner Richard Powers (“The Overstory”), and all the journalists who’d either investigated Donald Trump last year or reported on mass shootings. Also present were the two Reuters reporters detained in Myanmar for over 500 days.

There were also staff members from the school newspaper at Parkland, Florida’s Marjorie Stoneman High School. They had to write their friends’ obituaries.

Dana Canedy, who has single-handedly revolutionized the Pulitzers in two years, pulled together an afternoon at Columbia University that celebrated courage and freedom of the press, as well as significant achievements in the arts.

Aretha’s award was accepted by Clive Davis, and Aretha’s publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn. The Aretha guests included yours truly, two of her cousins from Washington, DC, famed songwriter Valerie Simpson, and a panoply of the Queen of Soul’s friends. She would have been very proud.

Hudson’s performance was preceded by even more musical entertainment: magnificent classical singer Brandie Inez Sutton and pianist/Musical director Damien L. Sneed. The buttoned up Pulitzer crowd is going to want four star entertainment from now on, I think!

What a sensational afternoon. And guests received the newly remastered vinyl recording of Aretha’s famous “Amazing Grace” album from Atlantic Records.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News