Thursday, May 23, 2024

‘Amazing Grace’: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin at Pan African Film Festival – WATCH!

*Sure “Aretha Franklin” may be a household name, but how many know that “Amazing Grace,” the 1972 live album by Franklin that sold over two million copies, causing it to go double platinum, was the most sold album of Franklin’s career?

This album also earned Franklin a 1973 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance. What beautiful timing that this Grammy weekend, where Aretha Franklin will be honored Sunday evening by greats such as Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, John Legend, Patti Labelle and more, that a documentary with never before seen footage of her recording sessions will be released and titled, “Amazing Grace.”

Actor Nate Parker posing for pictures at the premiere of “Amazing Grace.”

Thursday night, February 7, was the opening night at the 27th annual Pan African Film Festival which goes through February 18. The PAFF is the largest Black film festival in America, so what better place to debut “Amazing Grace,” hosted by the festival’s co-founder and actor, Danny Glover?

The event drew celebs like comedian/TV host Loni Love, singer Bobby Brown, actor/director Nate Parker (“Birth of a Nation”), and PAFF founder Ayuko Babu to name a few, lined the red carpet to pay tribute and witness a movie 11 years in the making. By the way, due to conflicts over rights and technical issues, “Amazing Grace” has never been seen until now.

Casting Director, Twinkie Byrd, at the premiere of “Amazing Grace.”

The screening, which was held at the Directors Guild of America, gave viewers a glimpse into Franklin’s world and what it was like recording her album “Amazing Grace” live at The New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, California. This film gives us a fly on the wall point of view and shows us what went into recording with Franklin, her producer Jerry Wexler, her backup singers, the Reverend James Cleveland, and not to mention the legendary Atlantic Records rhythm section.

To see what some of your favorites had to say about this magical night and highly anticipated documentary, check out my interview – coming soon – right here, exclusively, on

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