Genius: Aretha (Season 3 Ep 1) trailer, release date, Cynthia Erivo

Genius: Aretha (Season 3 Episode 1) trailer, release date, Cynthia Erivo | Anthology series | Docudrama.

by Marsha Dizon

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Genius: Aretha will chart how gospel prodigy Little Re became the iconic Aretha Franklin, the indisputable Queen of Soul.

The third season of National Geographic’s critically acclaimed global anthology series will premiere over four consecutive nights, beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, at 9/8c. This upcoming season will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life story of Aretha Franklin. The eight-part series will tackle Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, and her immeasurable impact and lasting influence on music and culture around the world.

The series will alternate between present-day storylines and scenes from Aretha Franklin’s youth, focusing on her childhood and the pivotal events that influenced her career as an adult.

Genius: Aretha Season 3 Episode 1

Release date: May 25, 2020 at 9pm/8c
Network: National Geographic Channel
Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Courtney B. Vance, David Cross, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones

Genius is an anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, highlighting their extraordinary achievements along with their passionate and complex personal relationships. The first season follows the life of Albert Einstein, based on the 2007 book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. Its second season, follows the life and artistry of Pablo Picasso and aired from April 24 to June 19, 2018. In April 2018, National Geographic renewed the series for a third season which is set to premiere on May 25, 2020, and will follow the life of American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist Aretha Franklin.

Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for the third season of Genius, which will again be executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Pulitzer Prize recipient, MacArthur “Genius” grant receiver and Tony Award winner Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”) is showrunner and executive producer. Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA TV Award winner Anthony Hemingway (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) will also executive produce and serve as producing director for the season. Hit record producer Clive Davis, who worked for 23 years with Aretha Franklin, and Atlantic Records Chairman and CEO Craig Kallman have also joined as executive producers.

Grammy Award winner Aretha Franklin was a gospel prodigy and an outspoken civil rights champion who is widely considered to be the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career. 

Franklin had recorded 112 charted singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 entries, 17 top-ten pop singles, 100 R&B entries, and 20 number-one R&B singles. She is the most charted female artist in history. She won 18 Grammy Awards, including the first eight awards given for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (1968–1975) and is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 75 million records worldwide.

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, Aretha Franklin became the first female performer to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was also inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Franklin number one on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” in 2010 and number nine on its list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2019 also awarded Aretha Franklin a posthumous special citation “for her indelible contribution to American music and culture for more than five decades.”

Franklin’s popular hits include “Respect”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)”, “I Say a Little Prayer”, “Rock Steady”, “Call Me”, “Ain’t No Way”, “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied)”, “Spanish Harlem”, and a host of others.

English actress, singer, and songwriter Cynthia Erivo will portray the role of Aretha Franklin in the Genius series. Erivo is known for her performance as Celie in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple, for which she won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical, the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the latter two she shared with the rest of the cast. Her film credits include Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale, and Harriet, for which she earned nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

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