GENIUS: ARETHA – PREMIERE DATE AND NEW TRAILER FOR THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED EMMY® AWARD-WINNING ANTHOLOGY SERIES
National Geographic has announced the premiere date for the next instalment in its highly anticipated, multiple Emmy® award-winning anthology series, GENIUS, this time honouring the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. Starring double Oscar®-nominee Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” “The Color Purple”) in the title role, GENIUS: ARETHA, will premiere in a special double episode event across the continent, exclusively on National Geographic from Wednesday 30 June 2021, at 21:00 (CAT). Today would have been the late Aretha Franklin’s 79th birthday.
GENIUSis 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 honours throughout her career. GENIUS: ARETHA will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorised scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.
Without knowing how to read music, Franklin taught herself to play the piano; at the young age of 12, she began to record songs and sing on gospel tours with her father. She signed her first record deal at age 18 with Columbia Records. In 1966, she moved to Atlantic Records, where she recorded many of her most iconic songs. In 1979, she began a 40-year friendship and partnership with Clive Davis, which produced a number of hit songs, including the highest charting and bestselling song of her career, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael. The legendary singer is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold globally during her career. Her voice was identified as a “natural resource” by her home state of Michigan.
The series features many of Franklin’s biggest recordings and hit songs from the comprehensive Warner Music catalogue, including “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” “Don’t Play That Song” and “Save Me.” In addition, the series features Franklin’s performances of “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me,” “Freeway of Love” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves.” Additionally, the third season of the acclaimed anthology series features a number of well-known personalities who crossed paths with Franklin, including Dinah Washington, King Curtis, Clara Ward, Art Tatum, Reverend James Cleveland, Sydney Pollack, Angela Davis, Martin Luther King Jr, Curtis Mayfield and George Michael.
“Aretha Franklin’s voice was just one part of the incredible legacy she left behind, adding to her civil rights advocacy and her true musical genius, and so much more,” said Evert van der Veer, Vice President, Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company Africa. “National Geographic’s commitment to going deeper, pushing boundaries and going further is embodied in this definitive and awe-inspiring series, which we are thrilled to be bringing to viewers and fans across the continent this June.”