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Jennifer Hudson Shades Nat Geo’s Aretha Franklin Project: ’If It’s Not a Film, It’s Nothing’

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Jennifer Hudson & Aretha Franklin (getty)

Jennifer Hudson & Aretha Franklin (Getty)

*Jennifer Hudson has spoken out about her Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect” competing with National Geographic’s limited series on the queen of soul.

The Oscar-winning actress shared a special connection with Franklin. Before her passing in 2018, the music icon gave Hudson her blessing to play her on the big screen.

Meanwhile, Cynthia Erivo has been tapped to play Franklin in Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Hudson had this to say about the two projects: “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.”

READ MORE: Jennifer Hudson on Playing Aretha Franklin: ‘I Still Feel Like She’s In Me’

“Respect” was set for release in theaters in August 2020, but has been pushed back due to the coronavirus. It will have a limited release in the U.S. on Dec. 25, before a wide release on Jan. 15, 2021.

The film’s director Liesl Tommy previously said this of Hudson, “Jennifer may be one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with,” she says. Adding, “we were both so humbled by the task that we just agreed that there would be no ego in the process and that Aretha would be the diva in the room at all times, not us.”

Months after filming wrapped, Hudson said this of Franklin: “I still feel like she’s in me, I really do. I just hope to meet her requests. You think you respect Aretha, but once you see the film and you learn her story, you can’t help but to have a newfound respect for her.”

Of her personal connection with Franklin, Hudson shared, “I still have the text chains, so every now and then I look back at them. The last time I spoke to her was Aug. 8, [2018,] and I can honestly say she sang until her last breath.”

Filming on National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha has been halted after a background actor tested positive for COVID-19, Deadline reports. .

Genius: Aretha is slated to debut in early 2021. 

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Black Celebrity Gossip - Gossip

Months After Announcing Split Lena Waithe’s Wife, Alana Mayo, Files For Divorce

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Lena Waithe - Alana Mayo

Lena Waithe and Alana Mayo. (WireImage/Getty)

*It was a year ago that Alana Mayo and Lena Waithe secretly tied the knot. Now Mayo is divorcing Waithe.

Mayo filed a petition for divorce in Los Angeles Superior Court earlier this week, per court records via The Blast.

Apparently something went wrong very quickly  because  after only two months of marriage the pair revealed they had separated.

“After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways,” read a joint statement from Waithe, 36, and Mayo’s reps to E! News. “We have nothing but support for one another and ask that you respect our privacy during this time.”

MORE NEWS: Megan Thee Stallion Serves Up New Song ‘Body’ at American Music Awards [WATCH]

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Alana Mayo – Lena Waithe – Getty

Last November, Waithe said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that she and Mayo got married at the courthouse in San Francisco, where they wed in front of a bust of the late Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US.

“We snuck and did it, you know,” she said. “We didn’t really make any announcements or a big … you know.”

 

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Megan Thee Stallion’s Ex-Bestie Kelsey Nicole Responds to Diss on New Album

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*Megan Thee Stallion dropped her debut album last week titled, “Good News,” and on the opening song “Shots Fired,” she takes aim at ex-boyfriend Tory Lanez and her ex-best friend, Kelsey Nicole.

Now, Kelsey has responded on social media, confirming that she and Meg are no longer friends following the shooting incident with Lanez back in July. The Canadian-born rapper is accused of shooting at Megan’s feet several times during an argument following a pool party with Kylie Jenner. He reportedly told her to “Dance B*tch” while firing and wounding her.

We previously reported… Lanez has been charged with one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, personal use of a firearm, and carrying a loaded, unregistered firearm, per PEOPLE.

READ MORE: Tory Lanez: Rapper Pleads Not Guilty in Megan Thee Stallion Shooting Case

 

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Lanez is also facing a “gun allegation and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury,” the DA’s office said in a press release in October.

Kelsey was with Megan on the night of the shooting and their relationship has reportely been strained ever since. Recent screenshots of Kelsey’s comments show her shading the “WAP” rapper; in one, she replied to someone quoting lyrics from “Shots Fired,” writing,: “Lol I would never want a soul like hers. Face & body don’t mean shit. Relax.”

In another verse of the track, Megan raps “Who you takin’ shots at, goofy-ass bitch?/Watchin’ me succeed from your knees, suckin’ dick/I know you want attention from the n****s that I get/I’m a steak, you a side plate, shrimp, stay in your place.” To which Kelsey replied, “The most weirdo sh*t she could’ve ever said,” in response to the verse. 

Lanez allegedly offered hush money to both Kelsey and Meg, which the hip-hop star confirmed in her new interview with GQ: “This [is] like right in the middle of all the protesting. Police are just killing everybody for no reason, and I’m thinking, ‘I can’t believe you even think I want to take some money. Like, you just shot me.’”

Lanez took to Twitter in October to react to the felony charges he’s facing over the incident.

“the truth will come to the light,” he wrote. “I have all faith in God to show that … love to all my fans and people that have stayed true to me & know my heart … a charge is not a conviction . If you have supported me or meg thru this , I genuinely appreciate u.”

Megan has not yet addressed her fallout with Kelsey.

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Taraji P. Henson on Living the Single Life After Ending Engagement

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*Taraji P. Henson called it quits from fiancé Kelvin Hayden last month and now she’s opening up about how she’s coping with single life. 

“I am much better, let’s put it that way,” Henson told Entertainment Tonight

Henson confirmed her split from the former NFL star during an appearance on The Breakfast Club radio show in October. They broke up nearly two years after Hayden proposed.

“I haven’t said it yet but it didn’t work out,” Henson said at the time of her romance with Hayden, 37. “I tried, I said, ‘let’s do the therapy thing’ but if you’re both not on the same page with that, then you feel like you’re taking it on yourself and that’s not a fair position for anybody to play in a relationship.”

While Henson has not disclosed the reason behind the breakup, word on the street is that she grew tired of all the threesomes that Hayden wanted (allegedly).

READ MORE: Oh, No! Taraji P. Henson and Fiance’ Kelvin Hayden Split. 🙁 She Confirms / WATCH

 

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“My happiness is not his responsibility and his is not mine. We have to first learn how to make ourselves happy, to make each other happy. So when one person is taking on the weight of the entire relationship, it’s never going to work,” she added. “You have to show up, yes you want to be understanding but you can’t lose yourself in that understanding. You have to still stand up for yourself and be there for yourself but it’s hard to do if the other person isn’t doing that either.”

Henson tells ET that celebrating her 50th birthday in September prompted her to change her outlook.

“I felt myself slipping and so I was like, ‘You know what I am not going to do is let 50 happen to me,” Henson said. “I am going to get control of this mentally and not be like, ‘You are getting old, don’t nobody care, you ain’t working,’ Well, duh, no one is working, it is COVID. So I felt that coming.”

Henson’s advice to others who may be having a tough go at life at time moment: “So anybody out there, that might be going through this darkness, literally, working out, it really works.”

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