The performances were a fitting tribute to the late legend.
The Queen of Soul received the tribute that she rightly deserved with Clive Davis' "Aretha! A Grammy Celebration for the Queen of Soul." The live show was filmed back in January, but it aired this past weekend, just weeks before what would have been Aretha Franklin's 77th birthday. The concert was hosted by Tyler Perry and featured a "who's who" roster of powerhouse vocalists paying homage to the late Soul music legend. Patti LaBelle, Alicia Keys, Fantasia, Shirley Ceasar, Yolanda Adams, SZA, Kelly Clarkson, H.E.R., Celine Dion, Janelle Monae, John Legend, and Jennifer Hudson—who will portray the R&B icon in a forthcoming biopic— all took to the stage to perform.
Perry shared personal moments he'd had with Franklin, including when she surprised him with an unexpected phone call. “I got a call from her one day saying, ‘This is Aretha Franklin.’ I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’” he recalled. “She loved [my character] Madea … I did not know what a huge fan she was until she called and just told me. That’s the kind of generous person that she was. She would call you up and encourage you.”
Jennifer Hudson amazed the audience with her covers of "Think," "Respect," and "Ain't No Way." Alicia Keys and SZA performed "Spirit In The Dark," "Day Dreaming," and "You're All I Need To Get By." Janelle Mone got things swinging with "Rock Steady." H.E.R. blew viewers away with "I Say A Little Prayer For You," while Chole x Halle gave their rendition of "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves." Patti LaBelle sang "Call Me," and then there was Brandi Carlile, Fantasia, Andra Day, and Alessia Cara who tore down the house with "Natural Woman."
Check out the performances below.