See Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin in the Respect Teaser Trailer

The preview premiered during the BET Awards.

  • Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic, Respect.
  • The teaser trailer for the film debuted during the BET Awards on Sunday night.
  • Respect arrives in theaters in December.

Jennifer Hudson is a spot-on Aretha Franklin in the first teaser trailer for Respect, an upcoming biopic that traces the music icon's rise to fame. The preview, which debuted during the BET Awards on Sunday night, reveals Hudson in Franklin's signature '60s bouffant and sparkling dresses, but more importantly shows her belting out Franklin's iconic hit, "Respect."

While Oscar winner Hudson carries the film, she's joined by an impressive, star-studded ensemble. Mary J. Blige plays singer Dinah Washington, Forrest Whitaker plays Franklin's father C.L. Franklin, Audra McDonald plays her mother Barbara, Marlon Wayans plays Franklin’s first husband Ted White, and Marc Maron plays music journalist Jerry Wexler, according to IndieWire. Hudson also reunites with Dreamgirls co-star Gilbert Glenn Brown, who plays Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tituss Burgess also joins the cast as Reverend Dr. James Cleveland.


Jennifer Hudson stars as Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige as Dinah Washington in RESPECT.

(Image credit: Quantrell D. Colbert/MGM Studios)

Respect marks the feature film debut for director Liesl Tommy, whose past credits include InsecureJessica JonesThe Walking Dead, and Queen Sugar. The script was penned by Tracey Scott Wilson (Fosse/VerdonThe Americans).

After crafting a decades-long, legendary career as the Queen of Soul and civil rights activist, Franklin passed away in 2018 at the age of 76 in Detroit. She had suffered from pancreatic cancer.

Respect follows Franklin's beginnings as a singer in the church choir through her breakthrough as a music superstar. The film is set to debut in theaters in December, according to the teaser. Watch the full trailer above.

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Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is the Senior Culture Editor at, where she oversees coverage on TV, movies, music, books, and more. She was previously an editor at There is a 75 percent chance she's listening to Lorde right now.