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Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo

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With the passing of the legend and icon Aretha Franklin, it’s no surprise that people far and wide, are jumping at the chance to tell her story. So perhaps, it shouldn’t be a shock that there is more than one version coming forward in the next several months.

What is a bit more interesting is the reaction to it.

As we’ve reported before, Jennifer Hudson was chosen by Ms. Franklin herself to play the role of the Queen of Soul in her biopic. No one had a problem with that.

But it seems that in terms of other casting decisions, Hudson might be taking issue.

Actress, artist, Tony Award, Grammy, and Emmy award winner, Cynthia Erivo, has also been tapped to portray Aretha in a new series for National Geographic, entitled Genius: Aretha.

When Hudson was asked about Erivo’s role in the series, during an interview with Entertainment Weekly, she said after what EW described as a delicate pause: “Asked about the upcoming National Geographic series Genius: Aretha, starring Cynthia Erivo, she takes a delicate pause, then chooses her words carefully: “I know that Aretha was adamant that [her life] be a film. If it’s not a film, it’s nothing. I’m just honored that she picked me to play her. I mean, who can say that? And again, I would have never done it without her wishes.”

Interestingly enough, Hudson and Erivo worked together for a revival of The Color Purple on Broadway.

Perhaps she felt Erivo’s decision to take the role without Franklin’s blessing was disrespectful.

Still, the thought that there will only be one Aretha Franklin story is not only unrealistic, one project would downplay the scope and depth of her impact on music and culture. And while it is sad that Franklin is no longer here to determine who will portray her, I strongly doubt that Hudson or Erivo will be the last to play the Queen of Soul.

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