The world already knows that Aretha Franklin was nothing short of genius. Now, she might be getting a documentary series that shows us just how she became one of the greatest musical icons in history.
The idea for a Franklin Genius series reportedly sprung up shortly after her death. Her story is a good fit for Genius, which centres on extraordinary historical figures. Franklin was born in Memphis, TN to a Baptist preacher and a pianist/singer. She was a musical prodigy from an early age, performing gospel music with and for icons such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who would all visit her father’s church.
Over her career, which spanned more than half a century, Franklin earned 18 Grammy awards, landed more than 100 songs on the Billboard charts, and became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Just as notably, she’s remembered for almost single-handedly creating the blend of gospel, R&B, and blues now known as soul, and for the unapologetically Black and feminist themes in her music.
Genius was initially going to centre its third season on author Mary Shelley, best known for ushering in the science fiction genre with her Gothic novel Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Deadline reports the Shelley series, while still in development, may be pushed back for a later air date should an instalment based on Franklin work out.
Either way, this is a big deal for the series. Franklin would mark the series’ first female subject for the first time in its run — its first and second seasons featured Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein and Antonio Banderas as Pablo Picasso, respectively.