Aretha Franklin's Youngest Son Criticizes Upcoming Biopic Respect Starring Jennifer Hudson
In an all-caps Facebook post on Saturday, Kecalf slammed the film, which is titled Respect and stars Jennifer Hudson as the legendary singer, who died in 2018. Kecalf, 49, also criticized a book about Franklin called The Queen Next Door, by photojournalist Linda Solomon.
“Once again….. the Franklin family (does not) support the movie that is in production!!!!!” he wrote. “Nor do we support the book The Queen Next Door!!!!! Neither entity felt the need to contact the (core) family about anything!!!!”
Kecalf continued: “How can you make a movie about a person and not talk to the person’s [sic] sons or grandchildren about important information? How can you put a person’s [sic] family (image) in a book and not ask permission?”
“If you are a ‘real’ fan of my mother’s….. please do not support this,” he concluded the post. “Ask yourself…. would you want this done to you?”
In a “side note,” Kecalf claimed that the “only” aspect of the upcoming movie that his mother agreed with was the casting of Hudson.
“The ‘ONLY’ person my mother was in favor of for the movie was Jennifer Hudson. Period,” he wrote. “Everything else is being done against our wishes.”
“This is all about his attempts to become the personal representative of the estate,” David Bennett, Aretha’s attorney and lead counsel for the estate, told the outlet of the Facebook post.
“He does not speak for the family,” Bennett said. “I know he doesn’t speak for his brother Ted White or his brother Clarence Franklin. The grandchildren have absolutely nothing to do with this. What he’s really doing is talking for himself.”
Set to track Franklin’s rise to stardom from her time as a child singing in her father’s church choir, Respect boasts a cast of familiar faces, including Hudson, Marlon Wayans, Forest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Mary J. Blige and Tituss Burgess.
Last month, Hudson expressed her passion for the role while also sharing her nerves in taking on such an important figure. The star said she’s very much aware of the significance of the story, which she intends to handle with care and respect.
“Those are huge shoes to fill,” she told Sunday Today. “I am just taking it one step at a time, one day at a time. All I want to do is pay tribute to her and meet her requests, you know? Like, ‘Aretha said do this?’ — ‘Yes, ma’am.’”
After years trying to bring the project together, Hudson said she simply wants to get it right and honor Franklin, who died in August 2018 at age 76 due to pancreatic cancer.
“We were in talks a long time about me playing her,” she added, “so I just hope I make her proud [and] do her justice.”
Respect is slated for a theatrical release on Oct. 9, 2020.