On March 14, 2021, viewers watching the GRAMMYs were treated to a new teaser of Cynthia Erivo belting "Amazing Grace" as Aretha Franklin for National Geographic's Genius: Aretha, which premieres on March 21st.
The 30-second spot features Erivo as Franklin singing an a capella version of the classic hymn to a church congregation. Her voice is overlayed with sights from the Civil Rights era. We also see a montage of Franklin working as an artist and activist, showcasing her metamorphosis from minister's daughter to the Queen of Soul.
Genius: Aretha is part of National Geographic’s Genius anthology series. In previous seasons, it centered around Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. Nat Geo's description of the new season reads, "This season of GENIUS will explore Aretha Franklin's musical genius, her incomparable career, and the immeasurable impact she has had on music and culture."
This season was written in part by Suzan-Lori Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog. Alongside Erivo, Genius: Aretha will star Courtney B. Vance as Franklin’s father, David Cross as Jerry Wexler, and T.I. as Ken Cunningham, Franklin’s road manager and the father of her first son.
The eight-episode series will air over four nights. Nat Geo will broadcast two episodes per night starting with the March 21st premiere. All episodes will be available to stream by March 25th.
Watch the teaser below.
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Article Image: Cynthia Erivo at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards, Aretha Franklin performing in 2004. (Jean Nelson, S Bukley via DepositPhotos.)