Patti LaBelle helping Jennifer Hudson prep for role as Aretha Franklin

By Annie Martin

Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Patti LaBelle says Jennifer Hudson will make a great Aretha Franklin.

The 75-year-old singer discussed Hudson's role as Franklin in the new biopic Respect during Monday's episode of Watch What Happens Live.


LaBelle said she is helping Hudson prepare for the film, directed by Liesl Tommy and co-starring Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans, Audra McDonald and Mary J. Blige.

"She called me like a month ago," LaBelle said of Hudson. "She wanted to come to my house, and we're going to go over my back-in-the-day moves when I was singing with Aretha and all of the things in our back-in-the-day time.

"She wants me to help her with this movie by giving her some info, and that's my baby girl. She's phenomenal."

LaBelle performed with Franklin on several occasions, including the "Women of Soul" concert at the White House in 2018. LaBelle denied that Franklin snubbed her at the event.

"No, she really didn't," she said. "I think she was going through her illness at the time. She'd been sick, I think, for awhile. She was snapping at people, but not particularly me. My feelings were hurt but I really understood later."


Hudson said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2018 that it is a dream come true to play Franklin in Respect, which will span the singer's illustrious, decades-long career.

"It blows my mind," Hudson said. "I've always looked up to Aretha and to portray her -- I can't even speak about it because it's like, 'Oh, that's a huge task.'"

Franklin died at age 76 in August 2018 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Hudson, Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and other stars performed at Franklin's funeral in Detroit.

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