Genius: Aretha will premiere over four consecutive nights beginning Memorial Day weekend, Nat Geo announced at the Television Critics Association press tour Friday.
The third iteration of the anthology series, which previously profiled Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, stars Oscar-nominated performer Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul — the larger-than-life singer who died in 2018 after becoming one of the most influential singers in music history. Aretha Franklin is the first woman, first American, first musician, first person of color, and the first mother, to be profiled in the series, according to Nat Geo. The eight-part story will illuminate her genius through various moments in her life. The story will alternate between present-day storylines and scenes from her youth, focusing on her childhood and the pivotal events that influenced her career as an adult.
Suzan-Lori Parks, the award-winning playwright, is showrunner on the series, and said the series will help viewers understand what genius means in new ways. "Genius is not some isolated thing to be kept in an ivory tower." The series, she said, will help us see women, American women, black women and mothers as geniuses, and "encourage us to remember the genius inside us."
Genius: Aretha premieresMonday, May 25, at 9/8c on Nat Geo.