Aretha Franklin's son praises 'Respect' film after screening; Jennifer Hudson 'phenomenal'

Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Entertainment News

Aretha Franklin's youngest son, who has lambasted other projects about his late mother, has co-signed the forthcoming film "Respect" portraying the Queen of Soul's life and music.

Kecalf Franklin, writing in a Facebook post Tuesday, thanked MGM for its "extremely professional" treatment ahead of the film's Aug. 13 premiere. Members of the late singer's family were treated to a private screening of the biopic earlier this week, a representative for Kecalf Franklin told the Detroit Free Press.

"We had a wonderful time watching the film. Jennifer Hudson did a phenomenal job as well as the rest of the cast. We truly thank you all for providing your GOD given talents to depict our mother/grandmothers' life story," Franklin wrote.

He added: "Our hopes are that everyone will enjoy the film as much as we did! Great job everyone!!!"

The upbeat testimonial sharply contrasted with Franklin's testy reaction to National Geographic's eight-part "Genius" series earlier this year. Franklin and his daughters, who staged a demonstration in downtown Detroit, claimed the project left Franklin's family and heirs on the sidelines.

NatGeo issued a statement on the eve of the series' premiere in March, saying it heard the family's concerns and noting it had "worked diligently" to successfully secure the endorsement of the singer's estate.


Kecalf Franklin wasn't always on board with "Respect" either. In early 2020, he criticized filmmakers for not reaching out, writing: "How can you make a movie about a person and not talk to the persons sons or grandchildren about important information?

But by this spring, he indicated he was pleased with MGM's efforts to involve the family.

At least two of Aretha Franklin's close family members — cousin Brenda Corbett and niece Sabrina Owens — were on hand for some of the film shoot, which wrapped in Atlanta just ahead of the pandemic.

"Respect" stars Hudson as the Queen of Soul — Aretha Franklin's actress of choice —and Forest Whitaker as the Rev. C.L. Franklin. The film's official trailer and a behind-the-scenes featurette were released this spring.


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