FIRST LOOK: Cynthia Erivo demands 'respect' as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin

Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin (Photo: National Geographic/Richard DuCree)
Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin (Photo: National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

Cape Town – National Geographic and Fox 21 Television just released a first look photo of Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin for their upcoming series Genius: Aretha.

The Tony-, Emmy- and Grammy-winning star poses by a piano and from her hair and wardrobe looks to be portraying a late-1960s Aretha.


cynthia erivo

"Over the last few months, I have been preparing myself to embody the Queen of Soul, from relistening to her music to watching her rare interviews and reading some amazing books on her – all to really capture Aretha’s attitude and spirit," Erivo said. "I am truly humbled to be working alongside a very talented and musical team. Together, we will serve the Queen and create something special."

The ensemble cast includes Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story) as C.L. Franklin, David Cross (Goliath, Arrested Development) as Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barrett (Timeless, Preacher) as Ted White, Patrice Covington (from Broadway’s The Colour Purple) as Erma Franklin, Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Vice Principals) as Ruth Bowen, Rebecca Naomi Jones (The Big Sick) as Carolyn Franklin and Sanai Victoria (Black-ish) as Little Re.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CAST HERE: Meet the rest of the cast who are bringing Aretha Franklin's story to life on TV

The eight-part limited series will premiere on National Geographic in 2020 in 172 countries and in 43 languages.   

Compiled by Bashiera Parker

(Photo: National Geographic/Richard DuCree)