National Geographic’s highly anticipated anthology of The Queen of Soul officially has a date. GENIUS:ARETHA will premiere across four nights with double episodes, kicking off on March 21st at 9/8c (the premiere episodes are going to be available on Hulu the following day). The event will culminate on Ms. Franklin’s birthday (Thursday March 25th) as all eight episodes will be available to stream on that day.
GENIUS:ARETHA will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. The cast includes Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award winning powerhouse Cynthia Erivo portraying Aretha Franklin herself, and Courtney B. Vance portraying Franklin’s father C.L. Franklin. The eight episodes will showcase Franklin throughout her life, with each focusing on a pivotal moment in her life. The episode titled ‘Respect’ will show Franklin recording her first album with Atlantic Records, while ‘Do Right Woman” shows Franklin juggling her passion for her music and her dedication to the civil rights movement. ‘Young Gifted And Black’ shows Franklin releasing her protest album of the same name (inspired by Angela Davis) while ‘No One Sleeps’ shows Franklin solidifying her name as The Queen of Soul, under the tutelage of the visionary Clive Davis.
Expect to also see a copious amount of music from Franklin’s vast musical catalog, as well as appearances by a number of personalities who Ms. Franklin encountered on her path to greatness, such as Curtis Mayfield, George Michael and Dinah Washington.
As a companion piece to GENIUS: ARETHA, National Geographic’s ongoing podcast series THE MAKING OF dropped the first of three GENIUS: ARETHA themed episodes, The episodes will showcase sit-downs with those in front of the camera (and behind) such as the cinematographer for GENIUS: ARETHA Kevin McKnight, costume designer Jennifer Bryan and choreographer Dondraico Johnson. They dive into what the process was like to recreate iconic moments in the Queen of Soul’s life that are featured in GENIUS: ARETHA. THE MAKING OF podcast is hosted by entertainment journalist Stacey Wilson Hunt and is available for streaming.
For further info, follow National Geographic on their website