Aretha Franklin broke barriers for many women when she was the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Even in passing, the Queen of Soul rests in power by continuing to break barriers. Following a stirring tribute to the iconic singer during the Grammy Awards on Sunday, the tributes continue. It was announced Tuesday that the singer would become the first woman to be the subject of National Geographic’s Genius series. The anthology series, which has centered around people such as Albert Einstein (portrayed by Geoffrey Rush) and Pablo Picasso (portrayed by Antonio Banderas), will conduct its third season as a scripted miniseries on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul. There is no word on who will be cast as Franklin. Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, who is fresh off of writing A24/HBO Films upcoming Native Son adaptation, will be the showrunner.
The third season will include Franklin’s biggest hits including “Freeway of Love,” I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” “Chain of Fools,” “Don’t Play That Song,” “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Baby I Love You.” The anthology will also be executive produced by Clive Davis and Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman.
The description reads: The anthology series will explore Franklin’s musical genius, incomparable career and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she had around the world. Grammy Award winner Franklin was a gospel prodigy and outspoken civil rights champion and is widely considered to be the greatest singer of her generation, receiving countless honors throughout her career.
Clive Davis did not hold back in expressing his enthusiasm for the series, which will explore the scope of Aretha Franklin’s reach and legacy. “Aretha and I shared a 40-year friendship, ever since she cooked me dinner to talk about working together to reinvigorate her career,” said Davis. “I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with her and her incredible instrument. She was a gift to the world, one that will last for many generations.”
“Since that day 52 years ago, when Aretha Franklin entered a recording studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, sat down at the piano, and recorded her first track for Atlantic Records, music was changed forever. She took the roots of gospel and R&B, and imbued them with unprecedented originality, spirit, and depth,” said Kallman. “Through her talent and her humanity, Aretha transformed people and cultures across the globe. Her Atlantic recordings form a phenomenal body of work that has entered the timeless musical canon, and we’re deeply proud to be a part of her extraordinary legacy. Warner Music Group is honored to be partnering with Ron, Brian, and the team at Imagine, along with Clive Davis, to tell the story of Aretha’s genius.”
Filming for the third season of Genius is slated to begin this summer and expected to premiere on the National Geographic Network in early 2020.