Cynthia Erivo takes the voice and soul of Aretha Franklin and shares her genius in this horrific eight-hour National Geographic (now being shown on Hulu or on demand) show. The series takes the iconic Aretha and rips her to shreds with implausible dialogue and story points. Courtney B. Vance grabs you by the throat as her father but ultimately his performance unravels. Clive Davis is one of the producers and makes sure his image remains in tact during the final hours of the series. Telling the story by flipping between time periods may give Cynthia a chance to periodically engage us with her recreations of Aretha’s classics but dilutes her life to mush.
My favorite Franklin song is the B side of her hit single “Since You’ve Been Gone”, called “Ain’t No Way.” In my mind it’s one of the best B sides ever recorded. This clip below shows the artistry of Erivo’s singing and her rendition must have cinched her being awarded the role in the bio-pic