Nat Geo’s ‘Genius: Aretha’ Team Unpacks The Genius Of The Legendary Singer – TCA

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“Aretha not only makes art that is timeless that runs through the fabric of our lives and endures through time, but she does what genius also should be doing and does do. She’s inclusive and ignites the genius in each and every one of us,” said Suzan-Lori Parks, executive producer and showrunner of Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha.

Parks was present at the TCA winter press tour, along with EP and director Anthony Hemingway, while stars Cynthia Erivo, Courtney B. Vance, and Shaian Jordan joined in via satellite.

Genius: Areta first-look photo of Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Frankln
Cynthia Erivo In ‘Genius: Aretha’ National Geographic Channel

As previously announced, the third season of the anthology series will explore the legendary Queen of Soul’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she had on music and culture around the world. Grammy Award-winner Franklin was a gospel prodigy and outspoken civil rights champion. She is widely considered to be the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career

Recent Oscar nominee Erivo, who is well known for powerful, mellifluous vocals, sang live for the 8-episode TV biopic.

Nat Geo @ TCA: Deadline’s Complete Coverage

“It allows me to connect to her. Music is a real way to open up and be vulnerable, to share a way one feels, and to express the things that you can’t say. To be able to actually sing live means I can be in the moment and I don’t have to manufacture it.”

The series is set to premiere on Memorial Day, May 25, and a couple months later the feature about Franklin, starring Jennifer Hudson, will hit theaters.

“The Queen of Soul deserves all the love and attention that this world can shower on her,” said Parks. “That woman lived an incredible life, and every example from her life has gifts to give all of us.”

Following its premiere, Genius: Aretha will air over four nights.

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