National Geographic is still a couple of months away from its new season of its anthology drama series Genius, but one of the most-lauded stars of this year’s awards season is ready to take the screen as its Queen of Soul.
On Friday (Feb. 7), the first teaser dropped for Genius: Aretha, an authorized look into the life and illustrious career of the legendary singer and songwriter. Cynthia Erivo — who scored a best actress Oscar nomination for her star turn as Harriet Tubman in Harriet — plays Aretha Franklin in the series, which has previously dedicated seasons to Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.
In the 30-second clip, we don’t hear Erivo sing, but we do see her perform in a candy-colored ensemble that Franklin could’ve worn in the ’60s, along with several black-and-white flashbacks and rapid cuts to intense scenes between her and her loved ones. She does answer one question, though: when producer Jerry Wexler asks her what kind of music she wants to make, Erivo as Franklin plainly states “I want to make hits.”
Erivo is set to perform at the Academy Awards on Sunday night (Feb. 9): in addition to her best actress nod, she’s also nominated in the category for best song, as she co-wrote and sang “Stand Up” for Harriet.
Genius: Aretha premieres on May 25, 2020. Watch the brief teaser of National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha below.