Inside "GENIUS: ARETHA," the Story of the Queen of Soul

National Geographic’s GENIUS is an Emmy-winning anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators, exploring their extraordinary achievements along with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. The third season will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius, incomparable career and the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. She will be portrayed by Oscar-nominated Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” “The Color Purple”) and Emmy-winning Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) will play Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin. Our acclaimed panelists will explore the craft and care that goes into honoring her legacy and bringing her story to life.

Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.

Jennifer Bryan

National Geographic

Sway Calloway

National Geographic

Cynthia Erivo

National Geographic

Brian Grazer

National Geographic

Anthony Hemingway

National Geographic

Suzan-Lori Parks

National Geographic


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Featured Session




Cultural Resilience in the Arts