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ARETHA FRANKLIN: Bio-Series Debuts Sunday

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Genius: Aretha is “a celebration and a recognition of her genius.”

Showrunner Suzan-Lori Parks tells Reuters, the multi-part drama debuting Sunday night on National Geographic, honors “the moments where she created things that will last long after she’s gone.”

Cynthia Erivo, who plays the Queen of Soul — and sings her classics —  is clearly in awe. She explains, “To be able to step into that body and understand it… that meant a great deal because… I got to know her a bit more, which… makes me even more of a fan but [also] understand her more.”

Erivo also took inspiration from Courtney B. Vance‘s portrayal of Franklin’s preacher father. She says she listened to many of the Reverend C.L. Franklin‘s sermons “over and over and over again… and then I took a lot of notes about … his cadences and the words that he seemed to use over and over.

Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s GENIUS: ARETHA. (National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

Written by: Tony Williams

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