National Geographic announced on Wednesday (Jan. 29) that Raphael Saadiq is set to be the executive music producer for the channel’s upcoming limited series Genius: Aretha.
Terence Blanchard — the Grammy-winning jazz artist behind the music for Harriet and BlacKkKlansman — will also compose original music for the series, which will tell the story of Aretha Franklin‘s life, with Cynthia Erivo portraying the legendary singer.
“It’s an honor to share Aretha’s genius with the world alongside the incredibly talented Cynthia Erivo and Terence Blanchard,” Saadiq tells Billboard. “We’ll hit the keys, play the parts and sing the lyrics that helped pave the way for musicians like myself to trust our artistry and challenge ourselves to be bold.”
“I’m so humbled to be part of a project that honors someone I’ve idolized and had the great privilege of working with,” Blanchard adds. “Aretha was that one-of-a-kind talent that transcended all musical genres. She is the gold standard.”
The limited series, which follows similar seasons highlighting the likes of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, will also star Courtney B. Vance, Malcolm Barrett, David Cross, Pauletta Washington and more.
Genius: Aretha will premiere on May 25 at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic.