National Geographic’s Aretha Franklin series to premiere at Detroit’s drive-in theatre with free screening on 313 Day

click to enlarge Cynthia Erivo in Genius: Aretha. - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/RICHARD DUCREE
National Geographic/Richard DuCree
Cynthia Erivo in Genius: Aretha.

National Geographic's forthcoming Aretha Franklin biopic is set for a multi-city world premiere this week, and of course it would be remiss to not include Franklin's hometown.

National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha will premiere in Detroit at the Bedrock's Monroe Street Drive-In Powered by Emagine with a private screening on Thursday, March 11, to coincide with premiers in New York City, Atlanta, and Pasadena.

Then, on Saturday, March 13 — affectionately known around here as 313 Day — a free public screening will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis. Gates open at 6 p.m., and organizers advise guests to arrive early to get a spot.

The series will then broadcast on National Geographic on Sunday, March 21, and episodes will be made available on the streaming service Hulu this next day.

The scripted, eight-part series is described as the first-ever authorized series about the Queen of Soul. It stars Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) as Franklin, and co-stars Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, Patrice Covington, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Shaian Jordan, Marque Richardson, Pauletta Washington, Steven Norfleet, and Omar J. Dorsey.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks serves as head writer and an executive producer.

Not everyone is excited about the series, however. Franklin's youngest son, Kecalf, has denounced the film, saying that others in Franklin's family do not approve of the project.

"If you are a true fan please do not support it!!!" Kecalf wrote on Instagram.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland "Lee" DeVito grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, where he read Metro Times religiously due to teenaged-induced boredom. He became a contributing writer for Metro Times in 2009, and Editor in Chief in 2016. In addition to writing, he also supplies occasional illustrations. His writing has been published...
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