An All-Star Casts strives to make “Respect” a box office smash

The summer's most anticipated movie on the life of the iconic, Aretha Franklin.

Aretha Franklin RESPECT, the most anticipated film this year premieres on 8/13

This has been a great year for African American cinema, especially as we move forward towards the releases of “The Harder they Fall” and “King Richard.”  With the premiere of the highly anticipated film “Respect” vastly approaching, I want to get you familiar with the powerful lineup for the film. 

Forest Whitaker 

Forest Whitaker portrays Rev. C. L. Franklin in Aretha Franklin RESPECT

Born July 15th,1961 in Longview Texas, Whitaker is one of the most monumental African American figures in film today. The highly skilled celebrated actor has been in several acclaimed films throughout the years. He made his feature film debut in the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  I was captivated by his acting in the hit TV show, “The Shield,” In which he appeared in 13 episodes. It’s always exciting to see the range and depth Forest Whitaker brings into his roles. One thing that amazed me about Mr. Whitaker is that he directed “Waiting to Exhale.” He won a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award for Best Actor in his role as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland

In the film Respect,  Whitaker plays the role of Aretha Franklin’s father, Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, a Baptist minister with an extraordinary preaching style and wondering eye for the ladies who was vital in shaping Ms. Franklin’s for a life in music.

Jennifer Hudson.  

Born Sept 12, 1981 in Chicago Illinois, Jennifer Hudson is one of the greatest vocalists to grace our presence. You can’t use the words singer and entertainer in the same breath without mentioning that she has one of the most extraordinary voices in the world.. One important fact, before Aretha Franklin passed, she told Ms. Hudson that it is a must that she plays her in her biopic film. Jennifer has acted in several films including my personal favorite” The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete” but none greater than her standout role as Efie White in Dreamgirls. She received widely acclaimed love for her powerful performance of the song “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” She won a Golden Globe Award and Oscar for the role.

Jennifer Hudson plays the role of the late great Aretha Franklin. She portrays Ms. Franklin on her journey from singing in her father’s choir to becoming the Queen of Soul and an internationally recognized megastar.

Marlon Wayans

Marlon Wayans was born in New York City on July 23, 1972. Marlon comes from a star studded long list of family comedians such as his brothers Keenen Ivory Wayans and Shawn Wayans. He began his film career in the motion picture I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Marlon is no stranger to the big screen or television. He and his brother Shawn co-starred in the hit sitcom The Wayans Bros which lasted for five seasons. He is most known for acting in comedies such as Scary Movie, Little Man, and Above The Rim.

Rumor has it, Marlon Wayans is bringing all of his talents to RESPECT portraying the not-so-popular, Ted White

I’m most interested to see Marlon’s portray of Ted White, the personally damaged  husband of Aretha Franklin. They married at an early age. Marlon takes on a more serious, deeper role this time around that’s different from his normal comedic roles. 

Mary J. Blige

Was born in Bronx, New York on January 11th. 1971. Mary is one of the most heartfelt singers whose songs about heartache and pain catapulted her career into the limelight.  She began her career in 1991 after she signed with Uptown Records  She has released 13 albums. One of her greatest hits was her 1995 breakout song “Not Gon Cry” off the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. She has won multiple Grammys including a BET Lifetime Achievement Award

For me, Mary J. Blige is one of the best musical stories tellers of our generation and she continues to bring that same passion to the screen.

MJB plays the role of Dinah Washington who was the Queen of Blues in the 1950s. Dinah was a great influence on Aretha Franklin’s singing career. 

Respect premieres in theaters August 13th.

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