LATEST: Soul queen Aretha Franklin has laughed off reports she embarrassed Terrence Howard when she publicly announced her crush on him on Saturday (11MAR06), declaring he was "flattered". The A DEEPER LOVE singer denies she altered seating arrangements so she could sit next to the Oscar-nominated actor at the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters' dinner in Washington DC. As she accepted her Pioneer In Music award, Franklin said, "Twenty years ago, I would have hustled and flowed with him. "He sure is fine! I have to say that every time I see him. Hallelujah, glory to God! This man is fine." After entertainment gossip sites labelled the 37-year-old CRASH star as embarrassed by Franklin's declaration, the singer insists he accepted her compliments graciously. She tells the New York Daily News, "I did not tamper with anything. "He was not embarrassed by my statement, as 40 million women are saying the same thing. He is intelligent enough to have been flattered, and that was visible to all."