'Genius: Aretha' Will Portray The Queen of Shade Warts and All, Says Producers

GeniusAretha producer interview 

National Geographic's third season of Genius will focus on legendary singer Aretha Franklin's life story. Showrunner and executive producer Suzan-Lori Parks and director/executive producer Anthony Hemingway explain why they plan to show the good, the bad and the ugly side of the late singer's life in Genius: Aretha. She didn't earn the "Queen of Shade" title for nothing. 

After focusing on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso’s life, National Geographic’s anthology series  gives great women of our time their due with season 3 covering the life of Aretha Franklin, the” Queen of Soul.” As the previous two seasons showed, the series doesn’t shy away from the flawed nature behind world-renowned innovators or artists. Picasso came off like a misogynist and cruel man who used women for his purposes. CineMovie asked Suzan-Lori Parks and Anthony Hemingway if they also plan to show a complete picture of the beloved singer, warts and all. Listen below to their very interesting take on the question.

Genius: Aretha premieres Sunday, March 21 9/8C on the National Geographic channel.


GENIUS is National Geographic’s critically acclaimed anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators and their extraordinary achievements with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. This third season will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. Franklin was a gospel prodigy, an outspoken civil rights champion and widely considered the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career. GENIUS: ARETHA will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.
Without knowing how to read music, Franklin taught herself to play the piano; at the young age of 12, she began to record songs and sing on gospel tours with her father. She signed her first record deal at age 18 with Columbia Records. In 1966, she moved to Atlantic Records, where she recorded many of her most iconic songs. In 1979, she began a 40-year friendship and partnership with Clive Davis, which produced a number of hit songs, including the highest charting and bestselling song of her career, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” a duet with George Michael. The legendary singer is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold globally during her career. Her voice was identified as a “natural resource” by her home state of Michigan.
The series is produced by 20th Television and Imagine Entertainment. Imagine has partnered with Warner Music Entertainment for this third season, which will again be 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 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”) will also executive produce and serve as director.

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