Hollywood

Cynthia Erivo to Play Aretha Franklin in Nat Geo’s ‘Genius’

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National Geographic has found its Queen of Soul.

Tony and Grammy Award winner Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Color Purple on Broadway) will play Aretha Franklin in season three of anthology series Genius on the Disney-owned cable network. Nat Geo is billing the season as a definitive, authorized account of the music icon’s life and work.

“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” said Erivo. “Her strength, passion and soul are evident in her everlasting legacy, not only as a transcendent artist, but as a humanitarian and civil rights icon. To have the opportunity to bring her legacy to life and show the fullness of her being, her humanity and brilliance is an honor. What I know and have learned about what my voice, as an artist, can do and the power it has been highly influenced by Franklin. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the sharing of her genius.”

The season will chronicle Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career and the impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world, in addition to her outspoken championing of civil rights.

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