Friday, June 21, 2024
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Cynthia Erivo’s touching tribute to Aretha Franklin

Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo honors Aretha Franklin in teaser for National Geographic series.

Today, double Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo (@CynthiaErivo) marked her birthday by honoring The Queen (aka Aretha Franklin) and unveiling the exclusive key art for National Geographic’s highly anticipated 8-part limited series, GENIUS: ARETHA.

Erivo will star as the legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in the third season of the Emmy award-winning global anthology series. This installation will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. GENIUS: ARETHA will premiere on National Geographic this March. 

Erivo wrote: Today is my birthday and I couldn’t be prouder of the chance to tell the story of the Queen of Soul. She sang the songs for the feelings our hearts couldn’t find the words for. She told stories with the melodies she weaved and was unafraid to speak truth to power.”


The previously announced cast includes Emmy®-winning Courtney B. Vance as Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin; Malcolm Barrett as Ted White, Franklin’s first husband and business manager; David Cross as legendary music producer Jerry Wexler; Grammy® Award winning musician and actor Tip “T.I.” Harris as Ken Cunningham; Patrice Covington and Rebecca Naomi Jones portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, as Aretha’s sisters and frequent background singers who supported and collaborated with their famous sibling; Steven Norfleet as older brother Cecil Franklin, who stepped in as Aretha’s manager following her divorce from Ted White; veteran actress Pauletta Washington as Aretha’s nurturing and loving paternal grandmother, Rachel; Omar J. Dorsey as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson as King Curtis, Kimberly Hébert Gregory as Ruth Bowen; and introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, Little Re.

The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment. Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for the third season, which will again be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Pulitzer Prize recipientMacArthur “Genius” grant receiver and Tony Award winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks is showrunner, executive producer and lead writer.

Follow Genius: Aretha here.

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