Raphael Saadiq Producing Music For 'Genius: Aretha' Starring Cynthia Erivo
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Raphael Saadiq Producing Music For 'Genius: Aretha' Starring Cynthia Erivo

Raphael Saadiq will serve as an executive music producer for National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha.

National Geographic, Fox 21 Studios and Imagine Television Studios announced the appointment Wednesday as National Geographic continues to promote the upcoming series. According to the official release, Saadiq “is responsible for producing, arranging and recording all of the original song elements within the series featuring live performances.” The four-night, eight-episode event will have a score written by Harriet and BlacKkKlansman composer Terence Blanchard.

Suzan-Lori Parks, showrunner and executive producer of Genius: Aretha, said in a statement, “We’re serving the Queen of Soul and we’re thrilled and blessed to have deep soul brothers like Raphael Saadiq and Terence Blanchard on our team. They’re both accomplished musicians with diverse backgrounds–both have broken down barriers with the power of music.”

“I’m so humbled to be a part of a project that honors someone I’ve idolized and had the great privilege of working with,” said Blanchard. “Aretha was one of a kind talent that transcended all musical genres. She is the gold standard.”

The season is being billed as “the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series” of Franklin’s life, with Cynthia Erivo in the title role. According to the release, the series “will chart how gospel prodigy Little Re became the iconic Aretha Franklin, the indisputable Queen of Soul” and alternate between the present day and Franklin’s past, “focusing on her childhood and the pivotal events that influenced her career as an adult.”

The cast also includes Malcolm Barrett, Courtney B. Vance, David Cross, Pauletta Washington, Patrice Covington, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Steven Norfleet, Omar J. Dorsey, Marque Richardson, Kimberly Hébert Gregory and introducing Shaian Jordan. The series will premiere Memorial Day, May 25, at 9 p.m. ET.


First Look At Cynthia Erivo As Aretha Franklin In ‘Genius: Aretha’

Courtney B. Vance To Star Alongside Cynthia Erivo As Aretha Franklin In Nat Geo’s ‘Genius’

Photo: Getty / Nat Geo

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