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‘Genius: Aretha’ Got Pushed Back Due To The Pandemic, Here's The New Premiere Date & New Poster

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The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the premiere date of “Genius: Aretha” back. Now, it’s a go! See Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in the new poster and more about how the delay messed up the EMMY run inside….

The Coronavirus pandemic put a screeching halt to the release of National Geographic’s limited series “Genius: Aretha.”

Cynthia Erivo has been tapped to portray "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin in season three of Nat Geo’s EMMY winning anthology series “Genius.” It was originally scheduled to be released right before Memorial Day Weekend 2020, but COVID. The plan was to have each episode air over four consecutive nights in late May 2020, days before the EMMY Awards’ eligibility period ended (May 31st).

No worries. “Genius: Aretha” will now be eligible to be nominated this year since it’ll premiere two months before the eligibility date. Get ready to be engulfed in some soulful vibes when the limited series premieres in March 2021.

Two-time Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo celebrated her 34th birthday by unveiling the new key art:


“Genius: Aretha” is billed as the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted limited series on the life of the musical icon. It will chronicle Aretha’s incredible music career, her musical genius and the impact she made on music and culture around the world.

The Broadway starlet will perform songs from Aretha’s legendary catalogue. Several of the singer’s biggest hits will also be featured in the series, including "I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)," "Chain of Fools," "Don't Play That Song" and "Baby I Love You," along with her performances of "Freeway of Love," "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me" and "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves."

Not only that, her activism for civil rights will also be featured.

There’s a star-studded cast to back the new project, including Emmy winner 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; Grammy winning musician and actor Tip “T.I.” Harris (“Ant Man,” “Get Hard”) as Ken Cunningham; 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, and Kimberly Hébert Gregory (“Vice Principals”) as Ruth Bowen.

And introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, Little Re.

Peep the trailer below:

“Genius: Aretha” will premiere on National Geographic this March. Will you be tuning in?


Yes, Jennifer Hudson is still playing Aretha Franklin in the upcoming biopic about the singer's life. The upcoming biopic film titled RESPECT is set to drop in August 2021.

Photo: One35Agency/Getty

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