Singer Jennifer Hudson wears Reem Acra for powerful B.E.T Awards performance

The Oscar winner wore a gown from Reem Acra’s Fall 2020 collection for her B.E.T performance. Getty
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Updated 30 June 2020

Singer Jennifer Hudson wears Reem Acra for powerful B.E.T Awards performance

DUBAI: The 2020 B.E.T. Awards may have been virtual, but its style moments were very real. The celebrities who participated in the annual ceremony brought their fashion A-game to remind the world just how exciting and glamorous red carpet style can be. You don’t have to look further than US singer Jennifer Hudson, who channeled the late Aretha Franklin for a show-stopping performance of “Young, Gifted and Black.”

The star, who first sat behind a white piano before moving to a standing microphone, looked glamorous in an emerald green gown from Lebanese fashion designer Reem Acra. With its contrasting velvet and mesh texture and a colorful gem-encrusted high neckline, the kaftan-style dress won’t soon be forgotten. Paired with matching green eyeliner and diamond studs and with her caramel-colored dreadlocks piled into an elegant updo, the final look was nothing short of extravagent. 



We are Royalty! Oh what a lovely precious thing it is to be young gifted and black ! @betawards

A post shared by Jennifer Hudson (@iamjhud) on

The performance also served as a sneak peek of what we can expect from Hudson’s portrayal of the Queen of Soul in the upcoming Liesl Tommy-directed “Respect” biopic, in which she will play the late Franklin.

Following Hudson’s set at the B.E.T Awards,  the official trailer for the biopic, which is set to premiere in December, was unveiled. The clip features quick flashes from the musical artist’s  life and career, including scenes from Franklin’s  meteoric rise to fame, her signing with a music manager and the legendary singer belting out the song “Respect”  in a gold gown.

Before Franklin died in August 2018 at the age of 76, she handpicked the “Dreamgirls” star to portray her in the film. 

US singer Jennifer Hudson also championed the Lebanese designer at the world premiere of ‘Cats.’ Getty

Meanwhile, it’s not the first time that the Oscar winner has chosen a design from Reem Acra for a special occasion. Fans might remember the form-fitting black gown with crystal-embellished mesh overlay from the Lebanese designer’s Fall 2019 collection, which she wore to the world premiere for “Cats” in New York’s Lincoln Center back in December.

The 38-year-old singer’s  love for Reem Acra designs go way back to 2012, when she performed at the Concert for the Rainforest Fund in New York City wearing a strapless rose gold gown with an embroidered bodice eight-years-ago.

How to travel post-COVID-19

Updated 07 July 2020

How to travel post-COVID-19

  • As borders begin to re-open in the Middle East and around the world, here is how to deal with traveling in a post-pandemic world

DUBAI: When it comes to the Middle East, July seems to be a marker. From Bahrain to Egypt, Morocco to Dubai, borders are tentatively opening, with plans to jumpstart tourism a sign of better days to come. But still, a question hangs heavy. Even if we are now allowed to travel, will the experience ever really be the same again?

From where you can go to how much it will cost, what you can do there to a fear of going in the first place, the very essence of travel stands on the precipice, and we are all at risk of a lesser life experience because of it.

For Dubai-based, Euronews Travel TV presenter Sarah Hedley-Hymers, the biggest repercussion is the resulting knowledge hit. “Traveling makes me hyper-attentive,” she said. “The newness of places stimulates all the senses. I’m like Bradley Cooper in the movie ‘Limitless,’ absorbing different destinations like a sponge, expanding with the knowledge of it all, energized by the novelty. Not traveling feels like a protracted comedown.”

But while COVID-19 may have grounded the first half of 2020, the green shoots of recovery are slowly creeping through the cracks. Tentatively, travel is once more an option, but if you are planning post-pandemic travel, preparation is paramount.

Where can I travel to?
June saw much of Europe slowly re-open its doors, albeit with entry generally restricted to EU nationals or returning residents. In the Middle East, July 1 saw airports open in Egypt and Lebanon, along with tourism facilities in Turkey. Dubai will welcome visitors from July 7, Morocco from July 11, and Bahrain hopes to re-open the King Fahd Causeway — and its border with Saudi Arabia — by the end of the month.

Tourists from around the world stepped foot in the UAE for the first time in nearly four months on July 7. Shutterstock

The re-openings are fluid, with plans changing daily. Best advice? Check carefully ahead of any trip. There is a good chance that restrictions will still apply, both with the country you are heading to and the one you are departing from.

Will air travel be more expensive post-COVID-19?
As fleets have lay grounded for months, the big fear was that airlines would have to charge extortionate fares in order to recoup losses. Thankfully, the opposite might be true.

“With regards to the cost of travel, views currently vary and it’s difficult to accurately predict airline strategies,” said Ciarán Kelly, managing director of the Middle East & Africa Network at FCM Travel Solutions. “But some people expect fares to stay low as airlines struggle to get customers back on board.

“Whether it’s a free checked bag on your flight, discount vouchers — as we’ve seen already from Etihad — free wifi or other incentives, airlines are going to have to do everything they can to get people back into the skies.

“Of course on the flip side, faced with huge losses to make up and potentially emptier planes, they could go the other way and raise ticket prices. But even if that happens, it’s also likely they’ll adopt more lenient change and cancelation policies, as has been seen over the last few weeks.”

What if I am scared to travel?
A perhaps unexpected repercussion of COVID-19 on travel is a fear of staying safe. A recent poll by Mower, an independent marketing, advertising and public relations agency in the US, found that only 16 percent of Americans would be comfortable flying again once restrictions were eased. For Reem Shaheen, counseling psychologist at Dubai’s Be Psychology Center, the key to allaying fear is preparation.
“Apart from concerns over the virus, the overwhelming worry at the moment is access. Most people are struggling to not only figure out a travel destination with open borders, but also if they’re able to return to their country of residency,” she said.

Most people are struggling to not only figure out a travel destination with open borders, but also if they’re able to return to their country of residency. Shutterstock

“I believe that the fuel of this fear lies in the feeling of helplessness. The best way to manage that is by gathering as much information as possible. This could be by knowing where the hospitals are, preparing for a safe return to your country of residence, or simply learning the protocols on social distancing of the country that you’re heading to. Working to gain control over situations within your power will help reduce the fear and anxiety triggered by traveling during the pandemic.”

When should I travel again?
While open borders might signify an invitation to travel, the reality is that things might take a little longer before the world is comfortable in transit once more. But while your travel experience might now be a little different, you would hope that the opportunity to embrace new experiences will once again prove too good to resist.

Travel equates to more than the sum of its parts, not just the act of being there but the attributes it brings. Patience, acceptance, kindness and curiosity — those are the traits that you pick up on the road, and without the ability to move freely, we are all missing out. Plus, as Hedley-Hymers said: “If nothing else, it’s always nice to find a corner of the world that doesn’t have a McDonald’s on it.”