The late, great Aretha Franklin had a lot of, well, respect for the piano. In honor of her recently released biopic, Respect, Steinway is auctioning a colorful custom piano designed in part by its star Jennifer Hudson.
The Grammy and Academy Award winner, who stars as the Queen of Soul herself in the new film, tapped noted artists Menace Two and Resa Piece to imbue Steinway’s Boston UP-118S Performance Edition piano with the glitz and glamour befitting of a music icon.
The duo, known as MenaceResa, previously painted several murals in Hudson’s home and have emblazoned the instrument with a myriad of bright colors and shapes that draw inspiration from the ‘60s. It was this era in which Franklin began her rise from soul singer to global phenomenon.
For added pizzaz, the bespoke Boston has been bedazzled with more than 1,000 glittering Swarovski crystals. It also features the word “Respect” in bold, black letters across the front. Released in 1967, Franklin’s rendition of Otis Redding’s “Respect” catapulted her to fame at age 25 and is one of the most influential songs in music history.
Franklin, who also happened to be an incredible pianist, consistently played Steinway pianos throughout her life and career. Likewise, in Respect, Hudson channels not only Franklin’s incredible vocals but also tickles the ivories in many scenes.
“Certainly, everyone at Steinway is very proud that our pianos are featured so prominently in this amazing film,” Gavin English, president of Steinway & Sons Americas, said in a statement.
The one-of-a-kind Steinway is up for auction via Charity Auctions Today until September 27. The current bid is $8,888. All proceeds will be donated to the Julian D. King Gift Foundation, which was founded by Hudson in honor of her late nephew, Julian, who died tragically at the age of seven. The foundation acts as a catalyst for change in children’s health, education and welfare, helping low-income families access the resources they need to succeed.
“We are thrilled to be able to donate this piano—an outstanding piece of art in its own right, to honor Julian and to help fund the Foundation’s activities,” English’s statement continued.
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