During this weekend’s Grammy Awards, National Geographic released a new trailer for the upcoming live-action drama series, Genius: Aretha, with actress Cynthia Erivo singing “Amazing Grace.”
This new TV spot uses Erivo’s vocals to highlight some new poignant and powerful scenes showcased in the upcoming series, including the portrayal of Aretha Franklin’s iconic “Amazing Grace” performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church; Franklin’s commitment to activism with friend Martin Luther King Jr.; the social injustices she faced and persevered throughout her life and career, while showing us that her voice can still bring us together as the Queen of Soul in true genius fashion.
Check out the trailer below:
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 coming to the National Geographic channel in the United States with two episodes premiering each night over four consecutive nights from Sunday, March 21st at 9/8c, with new episodes available the following day on Hulu.
The series has been confirmed to be coming exclusively to Disney+ internationally including in the United Kingdom in June and it will be a “Star Original”.
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.
The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment. Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, 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-LoriParks (“Topdog/Underdog”) is showrunner, executive producer and lead writer. 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 director.
Legendary hit-record producer Clive Davis and Atlantic Records chairman and CEO Craig Kallman are executive producers. Imagine’s Anna Culp also serves as executive producer, and Peter Afterman is producer. Returning executive producers include Francie Calfo (GENIUS: EINSTEIN, GENIUS: PICASSO, “Empire”), Ken Biller (GENIUS: EINSTEIN, GENIUS: PICASSO), Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane (MWM Studios), and Sam Sokolow (EUE/Sokolow).
Seasons 1 and 2 are already available to watch on Disney+ in some countries. The fourth season of Genuis will be based on Martin Luther King Jr and will be a Disney+ Original.
Are you looking forward to seeing “Genius: Aretha”?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.