Jennifer Hudson surprised attendees at the 2019 Pulitzer Prize Awards ceremony luncheon in New York City on Tuesday. The Grammy award-winning singer channeled the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with her performance of “Amazing Grace.”
On Tuesday, Hudson shared her excitement to honor Franklin, who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor in April.
“So Humbled and Honored to Honor the Queen,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
Hudson, who is slated to portray Franklin in a forthcoming biopic titled “Respect,” told the Associated Press on Tuesday that her flight to New York City from Chicago was canceled ahead of the luncheon due to bad weather. As a result, the “Dreamgirls” actress decided to travel the near 13-hours by tour bus because she “wasn’t going to miss it.”
“I looked up and I thought, ‘You know what, it’s like Aretha’s spirit is in me. She didn’t believe in flying, she would drive,’ Hudson told the AP.
She continued, “I got here in time, five minutes early to sing, because I wasn’t going to miss it. Honey I said, ‘If I got to walk, if I got to crawl, I’m going to get there.’ And here I am — so it’s in my heart.”
Hudson’s performance of song “Amazing Grace” was a tribute to Franklin’s acclaimed 1972 live gospel album of the same title.
Franklin, who died last August at the age of 76, became the first individual woman to earn the Pulitzer special citation since the honor was first awarded in 1930. The Pulitzer Board noted she was awarded the special citation “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”
See the full list of Pulitzer Prize winners here. Watch Hudson’s entire performance below: