'Genius: Aretha': National Geographic has unveiled another photo of Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul

Cynthia Erivo has notably won Tony, Emmy and Grammy Awards for her performance in the musical comedy 'The Color Purple.'

With two months left to run until its release date, the imminent arrival of the third season of the anthology offers a welcome contrast to grim news of the COVID-19 pandemic. National Geographic took advantage of Aretha Franklin's birthday, on March 25, to present another glimpse of "Genius: Aretha."

She would have been 78 on Wednesday, March 25. To celebrate the birthday of the Queen of Soul, National Geographic has shared a new snapshot of Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin. The Oscar-nominated American actress is to star as the singer of "Respect" in the third season of National Geographic's "Genius" anthology.

In January of this year, the channel already offered a glimpse of the eagerly awaited third season of "Genius" with a first image of the actress in the role of the legendary singer. The first teaser for the new season, which aired during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, followed in February.

The "Harriet" actress will be joined by Courtney B. Vance ("American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson") who will play the singer's father, Pastor C. L. Franklin. Also in the cast, David Cross ("Goliath," "Arrested Development") will play Jerry Wexler, while Malcolm Barrett ("Timeless," "Preacher") will be Ted White. Patrice Covington (of Broadway's "The Color Purple") will take on the role of Erma Franklin, Kimberly Hébert Gregory ("Vice Principals") will be Ruth Bowen, while Rebecca Naomi Jones ("The Big Sick") has been cast as Carolyn Franklin and Sanai Victoria ("Black-ish") as Little Re.

Comprising eight episodes, "Genius: Aretha" is set to air on National Geographic on Monday, May 25. Broadcast over four consecutive evenings, the mini-series will be available in 172 countries and translated into 43 languages.

Launched in 2017, the "Genius" anthology devoted its two first seasons to the lives of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso. Initially the third season was supposed to focus on novelist Mary Shelley. However, this plan was changed following the death of Aretha Franklin in 2018.