Cynthia Erivo Sings ‘Chain of Fools’ in Trailer for ‘Genius: Aretha’

Genius: Aretha (Credit: National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

National Geographic has unveiled the full trailer and set a March premiere date for Genius: Aretha, its anthology series on music legend Aretha Franklin.

The network made the announcement Tuesday and released the new trailer. In the video, series star Cynthia Erivo channels the Queen of Soul while belting out “Chain of Fools.” The trailer also takes viewers back to Franklin’s childhood and forward to her tumultuous relationship with her first husband and manager Ted White.

Erivo, a Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee, plays Franklin as the series charts the music icon’s journey from aspiring performer to international icon.

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“I’m truly humbled to be working alongside a very talented and musical team. Together, we’ll serve the Queen and create something special,” Erivo said when first-look images of her in costume were previously released.

The cast also includes Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story) as C.L., Franklin’s father; Malcolm Barrett (Timeless) as Ted White; David Cross (Arrested Development) as music producer Jerry Wexler; and Broadway stars Patrice Covington (The Color Purple) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (Oklahoma!) as Franklin’s sisters and frequent background singers, Erma and Carolyn.

The Emmy-winning Genius franchise has previously focused on Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein. Anthony Hemingway serves as executive producer and director for the new season. Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, and Suzan-Lori Parks are also executive producers.

Genius: Aretha was originally scheduled for release in May 2020, but production was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The show will premiere on Sunday, March 21, at 9/8c on Nat Geo with double-stacked episodes across four consecutive nights. The episodes will be available the next day on Hulu.

Watch the trailer for Genius: Aretha below: