National Geographic’s GENIUS: ARETHA partners with Live Nation for a nationwide marquee takeover to honor the legacy of the “Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin. Twenty marquees will go live beginning Monday, March 15 through Wednesday, March 24.

These marquees will once again place Franklin in her rightful spot as a headliner with “All Hail The Queen #GeniusAF 3.21.21.” During an unprecedented time in history, this GENIUS: ARETHA activation not only spotlights the indisputable Queen of Soul’s legacy, but also uplifts live music venues across the nation. Additionally, as part of this activation National Geographic is making a donation to Crew Nation, a global relief fund launched by Live Nation and powered by nonprofit partner Music Forward Foundation that provides financial support for live music crews impacted by the global pandemic and beyond.


The GENIUS: ARETHA will feature a marquee takeover on the outside of some of the nation’s most iconic venues for ten days.

The venues include:

The Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, Detroit, MI
The Fillmore Detroit, Detroit, MI
Gramercy Theatre, New York, NY
Irving Plaza, New York, NY
The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA
The Met, Philadelphia, PA

Warner Theatre, Washington D.C.
The Fillmore Silver Spring, Silver Spring, MD
Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
The Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
Louisville Palace, Louisville, KY
The Fillmore New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
The Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
Old National Centre, Indianapolis, IN
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MI
House of Blues Houston, Houston, TX
The Aztec Theatre, San Antonio, TX
The Observatory North Park, San Diego, CA
August Hall, San Francisco, CA

From 20th Television and Imagine Television, this new season of the Emmy award-winning anthology series will premiere on National Geographic with double-stacked episodes across four consecutive nights, beginning on Sunday, March 21, at 9/8c. The premiere episodes will be available the next day on Hulu, culminating in a celebration of Aretha Franklin’s birthday, with all eight episodes available to stream by Thursday, March 25.

Genius is National Geographic’s critically acclaimed anthology series that dramatizes the fascinating stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators and their extraordinary achievements with their volatile, passionate and complex personal relationships. This third season will explore Aretha Franklin’s musical genius and incomparable career, as well as the immeasurable impact and lasting influence she has had on music and culture around the world. Franklin was a gospel prodigy, an outspoken civil rights champion and widely considered the greatest singer of the past 50 years, receiving countless honors throughout her career. Genius: Aretha will be the first-ever, definitive and only authorized scripted series on the life of the universally acclaimed Queen of Soul.

The previously announced cast includes triple threat Tony(R)-, Emmy(R)- and Grammy(R) Award-winning Erivo as Aretha Franklin who will be performing many songs from Franklin’s rich catalogue; the Emmy-winning Courtney B. Vance (“The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”) as Aretha’s father, C.L. Franklin; Malcolm Barrett (“Timeless,” “Preacher”) as Ted White, Franklin’s first husband and business manager; David Cross (“Mr. Show,” “Arrested Development”) as legendary music producer Jerry Wexler, who guided Franklin as she developed into a confident singer and commercial success; Patrice Covington (“The Color Purple”, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”) and Rebecca Naomi Jones (“Oklahoma!,” “The Big Sick”) portray Erma and Carolyn Franklin, respectively, as Aretha’s sisters and frequent background singers, who supported and collaborated with their famous sibling; Steven Norfleet (“Watchmen,” “Dynasty”) as older brother Cecil Franklin, who stepped in as Aretha’s manager following her divorce from Ted White; veteran actress Pauletta Washington (“Beloved,” “She’s Gotta Have It”) as Aretha’s nurturing and loving paternal grandmother, Rachel; Omar J. Dorsey (“Queen Sugar”) as James Cleveland; Marque Richardson (“Dear White People”) as King Curtis, Kimberly Hébert Gregory (“Vice Principals”) as Ruth Bowen; and introducing Shaian Jordan as young Aretha Franklin, aka Little Re.

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