Jennifer Hudson had people on their feet as she belted out Amazing Grace at Aretha Franklin’s funeral on Friday, after Bill Clinton brought the audience to tears with his moving tribute.
Hudson, who is set to play the Queen of Soul in an upcoming biopic, wowed the crowd at Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple on Friday with the emotional and powerful performance which had people swaying and raising their hands in the air.
The stunning rendition came after Bishop Charles H. Ellis III introduced Clinton as ‘the first black President of the United States’.
Clinton said he and wife Hillary, who attended the funeral with him, had long been avid fans of the soul singer.
‘We started out not as President and First Lady, but as Aretha groupies or something,’ he joked.
He said Franklin’s power to pull a crowd was: ‘Not because she had this breathtaking talent, not because she grew up a princess of soul, but because she lived with courage. Not without fear, but overcoming her fears.’
‘She lived with faith… she lived with power. I just loved her,’ he said. ‘The secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent, and this perfect culture that raised her, and decided to be the composer of this massive song.’
Clinton could not resist throwing in a joke about Franklin’s flamboyant wardrobe, remarking: ‘I was so happy when I got here and the casket was still open, I got to think: “I wonder what my friend has on today”.’
The former President closed by explaining he didn’t love and respect Franklin for her talent, but for what she did with it, and how she treated others in the face of unimaginable success.
‘She cared about broken people, she cared about people who were disappointed… about people who didn’t succeed as much as she did,’ he said.
‘And she worked her can off to get where she was. She took the gifts God gave her, and they just kept getting a little bigger every day.’
The former President finally cut himself off, having gone well over his time allotment, by playing Franklin’s ‘Think’ on his phone.