National Geographic Reacts to ‘Genius: Aretha’ Boycott Call by Aretha Franklin’s Son: It’s A Tribute

Kecalf Franklin has previously slammed the producers behind the eight-part series, dedicated to the late Queen of Soul, for pushing the project through without their consent.

AceShowbiz -National Geographic is acknowledging complaint made by Aretha Franklin‘s youngest son over “Genius: Aretha”. Days away from the premiere of the eight-part series dedicated to the late Queen of Soul, the TV network issued a statement in response to Kecalf Franklin‘s online tirade that called for boycott.

“We received the message from the family, we hear them and acknowledge their concern for Ms. Franklin’s legacy,” a representative for the network told The Root. “We think we have a shared goal here – to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of Aretha Franklin. We can tell you that everyone who worked on ‘Genius: Aretha’ approached telling her story with the intention to respect Ms. Franklin in every aspect of the series and in every decision we made.”

“The studio worked diligently to attain the endorsement of Aretha’s estate, which we are grateful to have. We worked with many people who knew Ms. Franklin – from Clive Davis to members of her family’s estate – to make sure we told her story in an honest and authentic way,” the rep further assured. “This series is called ‘Genius’ – it is a tribute to Aretha’s Genius – something we hope we can all celebrate. One of the comments from a guest attending our premiere last week was: ‘Aretha lived so much life… she needs 100 biopics!’ We can’t say it any better!”

On Monday, March 15, executive producer Suzan-Lori Parks issued similar statement. “As the showrunner of ‘Genius: Aretha,’ I can tell you that every single day (and twice on Sunday!) – through COVID, social unrest, and every other challenge we faced – our intention was to respect Ms. Franklin in every aspect of our show and in every decision we made,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright stressed.

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“As ‘The Queen,’ she is deserving of every single celebration of her life that the world can muster,” Suzan, who also serves as the series’ head writer, further pointed out. “And, on a personal note, as a Black American woman, I was taught at a very young age that soul is universal. Our series is all about soul, and we are honoring the life and soul of Aretha Franklin.”

Back in mid-February, Kecalf took aim at the producers of “Genius: Aretha” for pushing through the project without his family concent. In an all-caps post, he declared, “The Franklin family ‘is not’ in support of the (Aretha Franklin National Geographic) ‘Genius’ series!!! The deal was pushed through without our consent!!!”

Kecalf went on to beg “true fans” not to support the show. Nevertheless, he did note that his post “does not reflect our feelings toward any of the actors/actresses as we know they are just doing their jobs.”

“Genius: Aretha” will start airing on March 21. It is directed by Anthony Hemingway, who also serves as executive-producer along with Ron Howard and Brian Glazer. Cynthia Erivo is taking the lead role of Aretha. A third installment of the “Genius” series, it comes on the heels of its coverage on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso.

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