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National Geographic and Double Oscar Nominee Cynthia Erivo Reveal Premiere Date and New Trailer for ‘Genius: Aretha’

National Geographic and Double Oscar Nominee Cynthia Erivo Reveal Premiere Date and New Trailer for ‘Genius: Aretha’

National Geographic and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Color Purple) revealed the highly-anticipated premiere date and official series trailer for the multiple Emmy award-winning anthology series Genius: Aretha.

From 20th Television and Imagine Television, this new season will premiere in the U.S. on the channel with double-stacked episodes across four consecutive nights, beginning on Sunday, March 21, at 9/8c. The premiere episodes will be available the next day on Hulu, culminating in a celebration of Aretha Franklin’s birthday, with all eight episodes available to stream by Thursday, March 25.

Additionally, National Geographic’s ongoing podcast series The Making Of released the first of three Genius: Aretha themed episodes, which features in-depth interviews with individuals who are both in front of the camera and also those behind the scenes. The latest episode features Genius: Aretha’s cinematographer Kevin McKnight, costume designer Jennifer Bryan and choreographer Dondraico Johnson. They discuss the process of recreating and honoring key and iconic moments in Aretha Franklin’s life that will be covered in Genius: ArethaThe Making Of podcast is hosted by Stacey Wilson Hunt and is available to stream on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcasting platforms.

GENIUS is National Geographic’s critically acclaimed anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators and their extraordinary achievements with their volatile, passionate, and complex personal relationships. This third season 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. Franklin was a gospel prodigy, an outspoken civil rights champion and widely considered the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career. Genius: Aretha will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.

Without knowing how to read music, Franklin taught herself to play the piano; at the young age of 12, she began to record songs and sing on gospel tours with her father. She signed her first record deal at age 18 with Columbia Records. In 1966, she moved to Atlantic Records, where she recorded many of her most iconic songs. In 1979, she began a 40-year friendship and partnership with Clive Davis, which produced a number of hit songs, including the highest charting and bestselling song of her career, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael. The legendary singer is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold globally during her career. Her voice was identified as a “natural resource” by her home state of Michigan.

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The previously announced cast includes triple threat Tony-, Emmy- and GRAMMY Award-winning Erivo as Aretha Franklin who will be performing many songs from Franklin’s rich catalogue; the Emmy-winning Courtney B. Vance (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin; Malcolm Barrett (Timeless, Preacher) as Ted White, Franklin’s first husband and business manager; David Cross (Mr. Show, Arrested Development) as legendary music producer Jerry Wexler, who guided Franklin as she developed into a confident singer and commercial success; Patrice Covington (The Color Purple, Ain’t Misbehavin’) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Oklahoma!, The Big Sick) portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, as Aretha’s sisters and frequent background singers, who supported and collaborated with their famous sibling; Steven Norfleet (Watchmen, Dynasty) as older brother Cecil Franklin, who stepped in as Aretha’s manager following her divorce from Ted White; veteran actress Pauletta Washington (Beloved, She’s Gotta Have It) as Aretha’s nurturing and loving paternal grandmother, Rachel; Omar J. Dorsey (Queen Sugar) as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson (Dear White People) as King Curtis, Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Vice Principals) as Ruth Bowen; and introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, aka Little Re.

Watch the trailer below.

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