Nat Geo Reveals First Look at Cynthia Erivo in ‘Genius: Aretha’ (VIDEO)

Cynthia Erivo Genius Aretha Franklin Teaser
National Geographic/Richard DuCree

Academy Award nominee Cynthia Erivo had everyone talking Sunday night, with an impressive performance of “Stand Up” during the 2020 Oscars and a first look at her in the new National Geographic limited series during one of the commercial breaks.

Erivo stars as Aretha Franklin in the eight-part Genius: Aretha. The third season of the anthology series explores Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as a look at her life off the stage, as you can see in the promo.

“I want to make hits, Mr. Wexler,” Aretha says at the end of the video. Watch it below to see Erivo as the Queen of Soul.

“Aretha Franklin has been a source of inspiration for me since I was a little girl,” Erivo said in a statement when she was cast. “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,” she continued. “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.”

Genius: Aretha will premiere over four consecutive nights, beginning Monday, May 25, at 9/8c. In addition to Erivo, it stars Courtney B. Vance as C.L. Franklin, David Cross as Jerry Wexler, Malcolm Barrett as Ted White, Pauletta Washington as Grandmother Rachel, Patrice Covington as Erma Franklin, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Carolyn Franklin, Steven Norfleet as Cecil Franklin, Kimberly Hébert Gregory as Ruth Bowen, Omar J. Dorsey as James Cleveland, Marque Richardson as King Curtis, and Shaian Jordan as Little Re.

Genius: Aretha, Premiere, Monday, May 25, 9/8c, National Geographic