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Cynthia Erivo to portray Aretha Franklin in ‘Genius’ anthology series


ABC/Eric McCandlessTony and Grammy award winner Cynthia Erivo will portray Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Genius anthology series.

The singer/actress from London will star in the third season of the show, which is devoted to The Queen of Soul.

“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” Erivo tells The Hollywood Reporter. “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.”

She continues, “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.”  

Genius: Aretha will feature many of Franklin’s classics, 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.” 

Jennifer Hudson, who starred with Erivo on Broadway in The Color Purple, will star in the Franklin biopic Respect, which is cheduled to open in theaters in August 2020. 

Erivo is playing the title role in the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, opening November 1. Last year, she appeared in Widows starring Viola Davis, and also Bad Times at the El Royale.

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