Jennifer Hudson and Cynthia Erivo Remember Aretha Franklin on Her Birthday

All hail the Queen of Soul! In celebration of iconic songstress Aretha Franklin, on what would have been her 79th birthday, the two acclaimed actresses portraying her in upcoming biopics are honoring her legacy.

Jennifer Hudson took to Instagram on Thursday to show the progress of her mural of Franklin’s face, created in spray paint.

“Royalty ! Sharing the making of My Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul mural in honor of the Queens birthday on today!” wrote Hudson, who portrays Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect.

“Thank God a soul lives forever!” Hudson added. “Happy heavenly birthday #arethafranklinbirthday.”

Meanwhile, actress Cynthia Erivo shared a montage of photos from different points in Franklin’s early career, set to her 1968 hit “Ain’t No Way.”

“Before I was born, your voice was already opening doors for me,” Erivo wrote in the caption. “For every night that your gift of song saved me, my thanksgiving is perpetual.”

“You are my inspiration when I need it most. You are my muse; a North Star to keep me on my path. You are my light in the darkness. Thank you so much,” she added. “Happy Birthday, Queen.”

Franklin died at her home on Aug. 16, 2018, at the age of 76.

Ervio, who is one Oscar shy of an EGOT, portrays the musical icon in season 3 of Genius, National Geographic’s Emmy-winning anthology series, which depicts the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators. 

The English actress spoke with ET earlier this month and opened up about getting the opportunity to play the icon.

“She was the queen in every sense of the word,” Erivo said, adding that portraying her idol is “definitely a big undertaking, but I’ve had a really good time.” 

Check out the video below to hear more.

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