Aretha Franklin’s Family Rejects Genius Biopic

Aretha Franklin’s family has denounced a new dramatisation of the singer’s life, saying they were not consulted and “do not support” the show.

Genius: Aretha stars British Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo, and is being shown on National Geographic in the US. The channel said it had permission to make the “tribute to Aretha’s genius”.

However, the family says they were cut out of the production process and asked fans to boycott it, saying: “This is about common, decent respect for our family.”

The Queen of Soul’s granddaughter Grace posted a video of her protesting against the show alongside her parents, siblings, and friends last week.

In a TikTok clip, they can be seen chanting: “This movie has to go! This movie has to go!” as reported on BBC Online.

She said:

As the immediate family, we feel that it’s important to be involved with any biopic of my grandma’s life, as it’s hard to get any accurate depiction of anyone’s life without speaking to the ones closest to them. During the process of writing, directing, and filming this movie, we’ve reached out to Genius as a family on multiple occasions where we have been disrespected and told we will not be worked with. As the immediate family – emphasis on immediate – we do not support this film and we ask that you also do not support this film, as we feel extremely disrespected, and we feel there will be many inaccuracies about my grandmother’s life.

Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, actress, pianist, and civil rights activist. She was one of the biggest stars of pop, soul, gospel, and R&B, who scored more than 100 hit singles on the US Billboard charts – from Chain of Fools and Respect to Think and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

A separate big-screen biopic of her life was already in production when she died of pancreatic cancer in 2018. Starring Jennifer Hudson, it has been produced with input from the family and is due to hit screens this year.

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