The roll-out for the much anticipated movie on the life of the incomparable queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, started long before the premiere of Respect on July 30 at the 19th Annual Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival.

Event curators James Hester and Amy Goldson left no detail to chance when they took over the grounds of the Ernie Boch estate in Edgartown to promote the movie one day before the showing. Scores of invited guest were treated to food, libations and many kernels of what was to come. One of the more impressive surprises was the formal gown that Aretha wore in 1968 at Madison Square Garden when she sang Respect, on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Jennifer Hudson, who does a magnificent role playing Aretha, arrived to the party by boat. Those present were dazzled.

Attendees at the Respect pre-reception on Thursday included Nikole Hannah-Jones, Michael Eric Dyson, and actors, producers and writers from Hollywood. Professors Dyson and Hannah-Jones spoke earlier in the afternoon to a lively, fully-vaccinated crowd of 300 at Union Chapel. This forum was moderated by Karen Holmes Ward from WCVB television. Dr. Larry Morse, chairman of the board of trustees at Howard University, welcomed Prof. Jones to the faculty. It was also announced that the speaker forums held annually at Union Chapel will henceforth be named The Charles Ogletree Speakers Forum, dedicated to Vineyard stalwart, brilliant scholar, strategic jurist and founder of The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute at Harvard University. May his many transformative contributions to the Vineyard and society be forever remembered.

The movie itself did not disappoint! Tony-nominated director Liesl Tommy started the movie in the church and ended it in the church, explaining that Aretha’s early experiences in her father’s church set the table for her remarkable career. Her father, the gifted preacher C.L. Franklin, her songwriter and singing sisters, the Civil Rights movement, broken hearts and failed marriages are all on display in this fabulous two-hour plus showstopper.

For the many parents of teenagers on the Island: you will certainly be interested in attending a book signing and conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Henry about her new book You are Not a Bad Parent. The book explores issues of reducing conflict and establishing meaningful communication with your teens. In today’s world, where young people are facing issues of gender identity, peer bullying, isolation, puberty and so much more, Dr. Liz has some answers. All are welcome at 92 East Chop Drive on August 20 at 3 p.m.!

When Val Moseley purchased Villa Rosa overlooking Nantucket Sound, she was well aware of the many guests from the civil rights era who visited previous owner Joe Overton. Respecting this activity’s legacy she has continued to make her expansive porch available to people and causes consistent with progressive values. She continues in that vein by hosting two events over the next few weeks. On August 6 at 5:30 p.m., the porch will feature Wes Moore, who is a Rhodes Scholar and longtime social entrepreneur now campaigning for governor of Maryland. On August 14 at 5:30 p.m., the porch will host Mayor Kim Janey of Boston, who is working hard for a four-year term. Janey is a longtime summer visitor with several family members who own cottages in Oak Bluffs. Come out and support these two superstars.

Please come to Union Chapel early this Sunday to hear Rev. Cathlin Baker, Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock and Rev. Otis Moss 3rd. All three will speak at the early service beginning at 9 a.m., not the traditional 10 a.m. service.

Congrats are due with champagne and flowers to prominent Oak Bluffs resident Barbara Alleyne. She will be honored this month by Northeastern University. She has played an active role in The Cottagers and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum over the years, among her other community interests. Her financial and program support to her alma mater has been impressive. Hugs and kisses, Barbara.

Speaking of celebrations, here’s wishing President Obama and the First Family a blast as he celebrates his 60th birthday this weekend. Travelling mercies for those coming far and wide to the Vineyard for the festivities. For supreme guidance and definition of what to do at 60, read the lucid poem that Harry Seymour penned in tribute to 44!

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as life is fleeting.