Aretha Franklin’s Family Protests National Geographic’s Genius Biopic
Many of Aretha Franklin’s immediate family members have criticized Genius: Aretha, a new biographic series about the singer.
It's the third season of Genius, which has just aired on National Geographic in the US.
The first two are dedicated to Albert Einstein and Picasso, respectively. The fourth one will revolve around Martin Luther King Jr. and be screened on Disney+.
Grace Franklin, Aretha Franklin's granddaughter, recently posted a video about Genius on TikTok, alleging that Franklin’s family wanted to be involved with the series' making, but no one reached out to them and their efforts to contact National Geographic only resulted in negativity.
She stated, “It's hard to get an accurate depiction of anyone’s life without speaking to the ones closest to them.”
“As the immediate family – emphasis on immediate – we do not support this film, and we ask that you also do not support this film,” she said in the clip, adding in the accompanying caption that the family has “no grievances” against the actors involved in any Franklin biopic.
National Geographic reportedly sent Kecalf Franklin and his family a nondisclosure agreement offering to show them the final product, but the family says the network did not make any effort to solicit their input.
National Geographic says it obtained the approval to proceed with the program from Aretha Franklin's estate, formerly represented by Kecalf Franklin’s cousin, Sabrina Garrett-Owens, who's not affiliated with Franklin’s immediate family.
After Garrett-Owens resigned about a year ago, the "Genius" team dismissed the family's efforts to contact the team, Kecalf Franklin says.
I have mixed emotions about watching the biopic, and I will make my decision here soon. On the one hand I want to watch it, but on the other I want her family to have some type of say-so about the film or reparations.
Whatever happens, Happy Birthday to the Queen of Soul!