Jennifer Hudson, who will star in Aretha Franklin’s biopic ‘Respect’ as the Queen of Soul herself, just released a new song entitled “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home”). The song, co-written with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy award-winning songwriter Carole King and Jamie Hartman, will be included on the ‘Respect’ soundtrack. […]
By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas A TV judge returns with a positive spin, a homeless man gets a second chance and some big stars give it up for charity. Here are this week’s most inspirational pop culture moments. Live to Dance Inspires ViewersPaula Abdul’s new show “Live to Dance” premiered this week to much fanfare. This is Abdul’s first foray back into TV since leaving “American Idol” and the naysayers were waiting for her to trip and fall. But Paula came back with her head held high and produced an inspiring and heartwarming competition series. There were no mean-spirited montages of bad dancers or heartbreaking critiques of the less than able. The show focused on the talented competitors with drive, ambition and many with sad stories to overcome.Chi-Town Finest Breakers featured three brothers and two sisters from the Borjas family of the Windy City. They are B-Boy Ozone (age 12), B-Girl Spinderella (age 11), B-Boy Turbo (age 10), B-Boy Lil Crazzy Legz a.k.a. Mad Skillz (age 9) and B-Girl Precious Moments (age 6). Four-year-old B-Girl Professional is in training to join the act. The siblings told “Live to Dance” host Andrew Ginsberg that they were once homeless and now want to use to breaking to inspire kids to overcome obstacles. They also plan to raise money to pay for hip hop lessons for those less fortunate.The crew Inside the Box lost their studio to a fire two months ago. They admitted to the “Live to Dance” experts that they practice outside now, mostly moving from parking lot to parking garage until someone kicks them out. But they do it for the love of the craft. Then there was 90-year-old Bonnie Buchner who almost became a Rockette as a teenager, but married the love of her life instead. When he died 43 years later, Bonnie turned to her tap shoes for comfort. She explained to Ginsberg, “Dancing brought back my life to me.” After her performance Paula Abdul commented, “Bonnie you are a precious gift. The show is called ‘Live to Dance’ and you exemplify that whole heartedly.” Ted Williams: Anyone Can Get a Second Chance Six days in and we already have picked the most inspiring pop culture moment of the year. By now you’ve probably heard of Ted Williams. Not the legendary baseball player, the homeless man from Columbus, Ohio.His is a truly amazing story. A one-time radio D.J., Williams lost everything due to a cocaine addiction. But when a local reporter stumbled upon his incredible talent, he just had to put him on videotape. Within days Williams became an Internet sensation. And job offers started to pour in.On Thursday morning the 53-year-old did the introduction for the “Today Show” and then sat down with Al Roker and Ann Curry to talk about his recent turn of fortune. Obviously emotional and moved to tears at times, Williams talked about how grateful he was to have all of these new opportunities. Which ones he’ll take are yet to be determined. So far Ted’s recorded a voiceover for MSNBC’s “Lean Forward” Campaign, which reminds people that “to lean forward is to think bigger, listen closer, fight smarter and act faster. To celebrate the best ideas. No matter where they come from. To dare to dream of a nation that’s better tomorrow than it is today.” That’s a good fit. He’s also the new official voice of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Other offers that have been pouring in from ESPN, MTV and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have reportedly offered Ted the chance to live in LeBron James’ old house. Oh, and if that’s not enough of a story to tug at your heartstrings, Williams was reunited with his 90-year-old mother after his “Today Show” appearance. They hadn’t seen each other in almost 20 years.One thing is certain, Ted Williams is a shining example that no matter how bad things can get, no one should ever give up hope. The New Year’s Charity Buzz AuctionCharity Buzz is in the midst of its Second Annual New Year’s Auction, which, once again, features amazing celebrity experiences and signed memorabilia. The online event began on December 21, 2010, and ends on January 11, 2011. The non-profit is encouraging people to “doGOOD and liveWELL.” Each item benefits a different charity selected by the donor.”True Blood” fans with deep pockets, might want to bid on a set visit and lunch with the cast and crew to benefit Children Mending Hearts (current bid $2,350). For the wanna be domestic divas perhaps a trip to NYC and a day with Martha Stewart to benefit the Orthopaedic Foundation for Active Lifestyles is more enticing (current bid $6,510.00). Fans of Steve Buscemi may want to bid on an audition for a speaking role on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” to benefit Felix Organization (current bid $5,250). You can meet Jerry Seinfeld after a show and help out Urban Farming (current bid $1,300), keep up with the Kardashians in NYC for Dream Foundation (current bid $2,200), get two signed Bret Michaels’ guitars for Starlight Children’s Foundation (current bid $2,583) or go to the HBO Golden Globes after party to benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (current bid $3,750). If this is all too rich for your blood, but you still want to help out, why not bid on a signed “90210” script to benefit Autism Speaks Promise Piece? You can start the bidding at just $50. Or for $150 you might win a Scott Bakula-autographed copy of a “Quantum Leap” script to help the Starlight Children’s Foundation. You can also try to win lunch with Kenny Johnson from the FX show “Sons of Anarchy” for $250 to benefit Help for Orphans International.To see the complete auction visit charitybuzz.com.