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Afternoon Edition: Aug. 6, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

Jennifer Hudson poses for a portrait yesterday in Chicago, the city she says “is my home and always will be.”
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with scattered thunderstorms and a high near 84 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 68. Tomorrow will be partly sunny with a high near 86, Sunday will be partly sunny with a high near 91 and there’s a chance for thunderstorms each day.

Top story

For Jennifer Hudson, playing Aretha Franklin meant showing ‘her faith was always present’

The first time we see Jennifer Hudson as a teenage Aretha Franklin in the sweeping and rousing biopic “Respect,” she’s singing in church.

Much deeper into the story, after Franklin has been crowned the Queen of Soul and has been through every high and low imaginable through the decades, she’s singing … in church.

Faith and spirituality are a theme in “Respect,” which has sneak-preview screenings Sunday before opening in theaters next Thursday and is sure to have Hudson — who won best supporting actress for her feature debut in 2006’s “Dreamgirls” — in the conversation for a second Academy Award.

“Faith is very important,” Hudson said in an interview on a hotel terrace on a sunny summer afternoon in her hometown of Chicago. “It’s the base of her and myself. It’s the thing that helped me get through the film. And it’s the thing that felt most at home.

“When we were shooting that scene [with Aretha as a teenager], I felt like, ‘This is church.’ You can’t really script that. … That was the most important thing to me to maintain throughout the film: her faith. And the gospel in her music, no matter what genre she sang, no matter where she was in life, gospel was always the blueprint. And her faith was always present.”

Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper has more with Hudson and her upcoming film here.

More news you need

  1. The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police is opposed to Gov. Pritzker’s vaccine requirement for some of its members, calling the mandate “vaccine shaming” for public employees. In a statement last night, the group said it isn’t opposed to the vaccine, but “we are opposed to being forced to take it.”
  2. Nancy Rotering, a Democrat in her third term as mayor of Highland Park, vowed today to “ensure access to justice for all” while launching her bid for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court. The move sets the stage for what could be a hotly contested race to represent the newly redrawn North Shore district on the state’s top court.
  3. The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined other local leaders today to call on Congress to pass legislation that would hamper state laws restricting access to the ballot. The group said the passage of two bills would make it easier to register to vote and eliminate voter suppression tactics.
  4. The South Side home where blues icon Muddy Waters lived and raised a family moved another step closer to official landmark status yesterday. Waters’ great-granddaughter’s quest for the designation now moves to the City Council for approval.
  5. A group that represents Chicago’s Magnificent Mile wants a Baltimore businessman to stop using the phrase while marketing his business located on that city’s “Charm’tastic Mile.” The Magnificent Mile Association sent a cease and desist notice telling Derrick E. Vaughan to stop “piggybacking” off Mag Mile’s “brand, prestige and good will.”
  6. Many are mourning the loss of house music DJ Paul Johnson — a legend in the genre who inspired the likes of Daft Punk. Johnson, a South Side native, died Wednesday from COVID-19 complications at the age of 50.
  7. Yue Bao will make her debut Sunday as guest conductor with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia Festival. The stint will be one of Bao’s biggest career milestones and is part of a larger shift that has more women on the podiums of symphony orchestras.

A bright one

Ducky Derby races 70,000 rubber ducks in the Chicago River, raises money for Special Olympics Illinois

A fleet of yellow rubber duckies sporting sunglasses bobbed down the Chicago River on yesterday afternoon for the Ducky Derby race.

Crowds of smiling spectators, children blowing duck beak whistles, boat riders, kayakers and drivers cheered on the 70,000 toy ducks raising money for Special Olympics Illinois.

A truckload of them was dropped into the Chicago River from the Columbus Bridge at the 1 p.m. “Splashdown.” With the help of the Chicago Park District and Coast Guard, the ducks floated to the finish line halfway to the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

Chicago residents could “adopt” a duck for $5 to enter the race. As of Thursday afternoon, the Derby has raised about $310,340 for Special Olympics Illinois.

Rubber duckies are dopped into the Chicago River from the Columbus bridge at the start of yesterday’s Ducky Derby race in support of Special Olympics Illinois.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Before the race, families milled around the festival of games, music and food at 401 N. Michigan Ave. Visitors lined the Riverwalk, Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive. The Derby also hosted a virtual festival for those who could not attend in person.

Many Special Olympics Illinois athletes brought their families to support the cause.

“We love what Special Olympics Illinois does for our children,” said Holly Simon, whose son Nate has won over 100 Special Olympics medals. “He’s met amazing people and friends, and he’s had a blast along the way.”

Read Nina Molina’s full dispatch from yesterday’s downtown race.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

It’s International Beer Day, so we want to know, what’s your favorite Chicago brewery to visit? Tell us why.

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What’s your favorite “L” line? Tell us why. Here’s some of what you said...

“The Red Line — I’ve taken it from downtown all the way back to 95th since the 1970s, most of my life. I hated when they ran the train underground instead of going around the “S” curve at Harrison and through the Loop.” — Tracey Hail

“The Original Howard 63rd Street line. I loved how the A train went west to Ashland and the B train went east to Cottage Grove.” — Pic Anderson

“The Red Line — it takes me home!” — Mary Ann Wong

“Brown and I like Pink because it’s all elevated. Red only because it runs through Lincoln Park and near Wrigley.” — Jackie Waldhier

“The Brown line as you enter the city offers the best views of all.” — James Scalfani

“Red Line. I remember riding when it was the A and B lines. My grandparents lived in Rogers Park, Howard and Jarvis stations. Now I’m between Morse and Loyola. It’s my history.” — Sharon Michalove

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