Review: Movie ‘Respect’ Screened At Dockyard

August 23, 2021

[Written by Stefan R. Hinds]

The Fanfare, Mystique and Excitement of a Hollywood Movie Preview was beautifully accomplished by Bermuda’s Entertainment Union at the Media Lounge in Dockyard on August 12th, 2021.

The movie, “Respect,” starring Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe Award winning Actress and Singer, Jennifer Hudson, was the signature focus of an amazing vision by BEU President, Selena A. “Va Va” Fields and executed to perfection by the combination and collaboration of the Media Lounge, the BEU Executive, musicians, catering & decorating teams, and the picture-perfect weather in a seamless production that was second to none.

Picture this: A Vibrant Red-Carpet entrance in the Victullating Yard, complete with Paparazzi, Camera Crew and a Journalist [Kendall Trott], bringing you into a stunning courtyard with tables decorated in Red, Black and Gold [by El Shaddai Luxury Flowers] and DJ Nadanja Bailey, playing, of course, Aretha Franklin songs! This setting immediately put you in the mood for a celebration of our “Queen of Soul,” but the “Glitz & Glamour” of this event did not stop there.

Trailer for Respect

As you arrived in the vestibule of the Media Lounge, you were met with a glass of Champagne and ushered into an inner courtyard with tables and chairs to sit, gather and catch up with friends. The ambience and vibe were intoxicating, and no, I only had a half a glass of Champagne, so I was in complete control of my faculties, and the best was yet to come!

There was Food Y’all!! Chiko’s Catering featuring Chef Chiko and Chef, Dr. Teneika Eve, showed up and showed out with samples of Aretha’s favorite foods! I have to admit this was some of the best food I have tasted in a long time – fried fish with tartar sauce and potato salad, lightly jerked chicken with macaroni and cheese, vegetable ratatouille and pasta, banana pudding and peach cobbler! All served to you impeccably by 1st Class Catering, led by Coy Ratteray, Bartender, Derek Caines, and assisted by Dawnette Sommner. We were all totally spoiled and well satiated, and anticipation was high entering the Media Lounge for the Preview of “Respect!”

If there was any fear of the “itis” setting in, once arriving in the Lounge, those fears were put to rest! There was a live band set up for pre-movie entertainment! What??!! You have to know that I was excited and impressed with this wonderful opportunity to see my colleagues in action, knowing how difficult it has been for many of us these past 18 months. But hey, I was not surprised, our President, “Va Va” has been adamant in supporting our musicians and entertainers and practically every single event she has produced, has featured entertainment by our members.

After an opening prayer by Rev. Nicholas G. Tweed, Sheila J. Smith, our “First Lady of Soul” blessed us with the timeless, “Precious Lord”, wonderfully accompanied by Raymond George on the piano. Then joining our “First Lady of Soul” and keyboardist Raymond George; onstage were, Samantha Smith, Charo Hollis and Olive Furbert, along with The Unit Band, featuring, drummer Tony Cox, bassist Brian Swan, lead guitarist Derek Simmons and Bandleader & rhythm guitarist, John Lee, performing a skillful medley of Aretha Franklin Hits. They performed with Panache and Style. They also energized the audience, forming an enthusiastic participatory choir with the classic, “Oh Mary Don’t You Weep.” This provided the ideal tone for the main event, “Respect” the movie.

What can I say about this soon to be historical classic of a movie. Aretha’s story was at once intriguing, startling, complicated, heartbreaking and victorious. Anchored near flawlessly by the incredible Jennifer Hudson, along with a star-studded cast of Forrest Whitaker, Audra McDonald, Kimberly Scott, Marlon Wayans, Mary J. Blige, Marc Maron, Titus Burgess, Saycon Sengbloh, Hailey Kilgore, Tate Donovan and Skye Dakota Turner as an amazing young Aretha Franklin.

We saw an example of Black Wealth, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, with Aretha and her siblings being raised by their father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, played brilliantly by Forrest Whitaker, and their paternal grandmother portrayed by Kimberley Scott, in a palatial suburb of Detroit. The struggle and dysfunction despite the privilege, creates contrast and depth into the pathos of Aretha, her family and her choices, concluding in the Love of Family, Honoring Roots and the Joy of Triumph! It was an Oscar worthy film with Oscar worthy performances, and the Music! My Lord! Hand Clapping, Soul Stirring, Emotion Evoking, Tear Jerking, Superb Music! Glory Glory!

I, of course, don’t want to give away too much of the movie [no spoiler alert here], but this cast was “Everything,” and just know going in, that ALL of the Musical Segments, Brilliantly and Joyfully produced feature the actual voices of Six Time Tony Award Winner Audra McDonald, Skye Dakota Turner, soon to be an inevitable superstar in her own right, and the inimitable and magnificent Jennifer Hudson!

All in all, it was a Magical night, and I am so grateful to the Executive and Membership of the BEU, the Outrageous Chiko’s Catering & the 1st Class Catering Teams, Aaron Denkins and Kimmisha of the Media Lounge, and Selena A. “Va Va” Fields’ vision for a Stellar Experience that deserves “Respect!”

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