Harriet star Cynthia Erivo is playing Aretha Franklin in a TV series (Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
In October 2019, it was announced that Academy Award nominee Cynthia would be portraying Aretha in the National Geographic’s anthology series Genius.
The series previously depicted the life of physicist Albert Einstein in its first season, played by Geoffrey Rush, and artist Pablo Picasso in its second season, portrayed by Antonio Banderas.
On Friday, Harriet star Cynthia celebrated her 34th birthday.
To mark the occasion, she shared a picture of herself dressed in a dazzling, bejewelled dress in character as the late icon Aretha, who died in August 2018 aged 76.
‘Today is my birthday and I couldn’t be prouder of the chance to tell the story of the Queen of Soul,’ Cynthia wrote in the caption.
‘She sang the songs for the feelings our hearts couldn’t find the words for. She told stories with the melodies she weaved and was unafraid to speak truth to power.’
The actor added music to her post, playing Aretha’s powerful rendition of Border Song (Holy Moses) in the background, which was released in 1970.
Several of Cynthia’s celebrity friends left her happy birthday messages in the comment section.
‘Happy Birthday!!!!!!!! LOVE YOU SIS!’ wrote Little Fires Everywhere star Kerry Washington.
‘Happy Birthday @cynthiaerivo !!! Most beautiful humble , hard working Lady that , breaks Barriers !! And stands for her culture !! We salute you today !! Happy BORN DAY QUEEN,’ said supermodel Naomi Campbell.
While Genius: Aretha was originally supposed to be released in 2020, it had to be put on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Production on the series eventually wrapped in November 2020, an occasion which was marked by the TV show’s Instagram account by sharing a joyful picture of Cynthia dressed as Aretha.
The post also revealed that the programme is set to air this March on National Geographic.
The fourth series of Genius will tell the story of Martin Luther King Jr and will be released on Disney Plus.
In addition to Genius: Aretha, another portrayal of Aretha’s life is also currently in the works.
Dreamgirls star Jennifer Hudson is set to play the singer in an upcoming film, titled Respect, which is due to be released later this year.
Jennifer was ‘anointed by Aretha herself to play her’ in the biopic, it was revealed in January 2018, seven months before the A Natural Woman singer’s death.
Cynthia and Jennifer starred opposite each other in the Broadway production of The Colour Purple from 2015.
Genius: Aretha is set to air on National Geographic in March 2021.