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Aretha’s genius streams on Facebook

To continue the celebration of the Queen of Soul, National Geographic’s short-form digital series Composing Genius: Aretha is available now on the National Geographic Genius Facebook page.



Composing Genius: Aretha showcases six in-depth videos about the creative team in front of and behind the camera, which brought Aretha Franklin’s story to life. A closer look at the making of key scenes, sets, music, costume, hair, makeup, and exploring what made Aretha Franklin a genius showcases an overarching theme celebrating the Black voices, artists and storytellers of Genius: Aretha.

The digital series features:

  • Showrunner, executive producer and writer Suzan-Lori Parks,
  • Executive producer and director Anthony Hemingway,
  • Director of photography Kevin McKnight,
  • Executive music producer Raphael Saadiq,
  • Hairstylist Coree Moreno,
  • Costume designer Jennifer Bryan, and
  • Cast including Cynthia Erivo, Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Shaian Jordan, Pauletta Washington and Ethan Henry.

The short-form series follows the critically acclaimed premiere of the third season of the Genius anthology series. Genius: Aretha, showcasing the lasting impact Aretha Franklin had on music, culture and history, has been hailed by Time as giving “the Queen of Soul the regal treatment she deserves” and praising that “the visual details, from exquisite costumes to sets that precisely capture their respective places and times, are equally virtuosic.”

CNN raves: “Like the best musical biographies, it enhances an appreciation of Franklin’s life and career, with an ease and grace that makes it look easy.” The Hollywood Reporter hails Erivo’s performance as “a vocalist who, when performing, appears as if she’s doing exactly what she was put on this earth to do.”

Genius: Aretha features Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” “The Color Purple”), who transformed into Aretha Franklin for the eight-episode anthology series in a four-night event, which aired on National Geographic from Sunday, March 21, to Wednesday, March 24, and with all episodes now available on Hulu.

The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Television Studios. Imagine partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, and is again executive produced by Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Pulitzer Prize recipient, MacArthur “Genius” grant receiver and Tony Award winner Suzan-Lori Parks (“Topdog/Underdog”) is the showrunner, executive producer and lead writer. Emmy, Golden Globe and BAFTA TV Award winner Anthony Hemingway (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) also executive produces and serves as director.

To watch Composing Genius: Aretha, click here.