Jennifer Hudson is one of many stars taking part in Tuesday's CBS special honoring the life of John Lewis

By Ally Mauch
August 04, 2020 04:55 PM
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Jennifer Hudson has performed a touching tribute to the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis.

As part of CBS’s John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero TV special, airing Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET., Hudson sang her own rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Dressed in an elegant green gown, Hudson performed the song from her native Chicago alongside her backup singers. The 38-year-old singer first honored Lewis shortly after his death on July 17, sharing an old photo of the pair on Instagram.

"'Servant well done' I can hear God saying that to you now !" Hudson wrote alongside the photo. "Rest In Peace congressman civil rights icon , John Lewis ! We thank u and will always remember you and celebrate you for your work ."

Lewis, who died from pancreatic cancer at age 80, was a key figure during the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington. Lewis was the youngest of the "Big Six" leaders of the civil rights movement, alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and led the march through Selma, Alabama, on "Bloody Sunday," helping lead to the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero will be hosted by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Gayle King and Brad Pitt. It is set to air Tuesday evening on CBS and across several other ViacomCBS brands — including OWN, BET, MTV and Smithsonian, Variety reported.

"John Lewis was an extraordinary man," Winfrey said of the longtime Georgia congressman in a statement to Variety. "A man of great vision who lived a life with the purpose of making sure America lived out its ideals."

Rep. John Lewis
Getty Images

"This is a celebration of the 'boy from Troy,'" Perry added. "A forefather of the civil rights movement, who would live to see his contributions for equality result in witnessing the swearing-in of the first Black United States president."

The special will feature musical performances, interviews, and conversations about Lewis' life and legacy. Yolanda Adams, Jon Batiste, Common, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Trevor Noah, Billy Porter and Wynonna are all lined up to perform during the event.

"Congressman Lewis was one of the most prominent and forceful voices for change in this country. Losing that voice now is so difficult as the country confronts structural racism. But John Lewis gave us the will and the way to continue his work," said Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer of CBS News, in a statement. "This special reminds us the journey will not be easy, and there’s no turning back."