Cynthia Erivo (Broadway's The Color Purple) is having a pretty good start to her 2020: nominated for "Best Actress" and "Best Original Song" (a song she performed live) for Harriet at this year's Academy Awards, while HBO's hit Stephen King adaptation of The Outsider continues burning up Sunday nights. The actress-singer's pop culture takeover continues with Genius: Aretha, the third season on National Geographic's award-winning series – and now viewers are getting a first-look teaser highlighting Erivo as "The Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin at various points in her life and professional career.
Genius: Aretha is set to debut on NatGeo beginning May 25 (Memorial Day) – with two episodes of the 8-episode limited series airing nightly through Thursday, May 28:
Erivo is joined by an ensemble cast that includes Courtney B. Vance, David Cross, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Sanai Victoria. Suzan-Lori Parks serves as the season's showrunner, with Anthony Hemingway on board to executive produce and direct. Joining Hemingway as executive producers are Imagine's Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with MWM Studio's Rachel Shane and Gigi Pritzker.
"Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl. 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 in it has been highly influenced by Franklin. I feel privileged and excited to be a part of the sharing of her genius."
– Cynthia Erivo