Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) stars as the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin in a newly released trailer for Genius: Aretha, via Entertainment Weekly. The third season of National Geographic’s anthology series aims to paint a picture of Franklin as she rose up from obscurity to become an icon who’s legacy still stands the test of time.
Franklin’s Father Rev. C.L Franklin, portrayed by Emmy Winner Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J Simpson), proclaims in the middle of the new whirlwind trailer, “Your gonna remember her name, Aretha.” He was right, as Franklin went on to become one of the most famous singer-songwriter’s in American history with a voice that is often hailed as the greatest of all time.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, the trailer depicts Franklin at different stages in her life, starting as a child and then turning into a bonafide superstar. Beginning with an a cappella version of one of Franklin’s biggest hits, “Chain of Fools,” Erivo belts out the song as the trailer spans decades in Franklin’s life.
Along with Erivo and Vance, the series stars David Cross (Arrested Development) as famed music producer Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barrett (Timeless) as Ted White, T.I (Get Hard) as Ken Cunningham, Amanda Warren (Dickinson) as Melba Parks, Sanai Victoria (Diary as a Future President) as Little Re, and Omar J. Dorsey (Queen Sugar) as gospel singer James Cleveland. It’s created by Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/ Underdog).
Deemed the Queen of Soul, a title that has lasted for decades, Franklin died in 2018 at the age of 76 but her legacy is more alive than ever. As Genius: Aretha gears up to debut next month in March, another biopic is preparing to debut. Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) will be portraying Franklin in the upcoming biopic Respect, which will premiere in August 2021.
Genius: Aretha will air all eight episodes from the upcoming season in the span of one week. Debuting its first two episodes on National Geographic Sunday, March 21 starting at 9 p.m E.T., it will then be followed with two new episodes being aired for three consecutive nights. Episodes will then be made available to stream the next day on Hulu.
Watch the trailer for Genius: Aretha below: