ATLANTA — The son of legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin is speaking out against an upcoming limited series about the star.
Kenneth Kecalf Cunningham urged fans in a report with Detroit Free Press, to not support the series starring Cynthia Erivo citing the project as “pushed through without the family’s consent.”
“This post does not reflect our feelings toward any of the actresses, we know they are just doing their jobs,” Cunningham also wrote in an Instagram post back in February, calling for “true fans” to not watch "Genius: Aretha."
The Root reported Franklin’s granddaughter Grace Franklin revealed in a TikTok post that her family disapproved of the project’s release.
“Genius: Aretha” is a highly-anticipated television event from National Geographic. The project was filmed in Georgia between 2019 and 2020. The channel will release double-stacked episodes across four consecutive nights, beginning on Sunday, March 21.
Episodes will be available the next day on Hulu, culminating in a celebration of Aretha Franklin’s birthday, with all eight episodes available to stream by Thursday, March 25.
The series follows Franklin’s early beginning as a self-taught musician at the age of 12 and chronicles her rise to stardom after to signing a record deal at age 18 with Columbia Records.
Franklin is one of the world’s bestselling musical artists of all time, with more than 75 million records sold globally during her career.
With popular hit songs like “Think” and “Respect,” Franklin personally requested Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson to portray her in biopic years before she passed in 2018.
“Respect,” produced by MGM, also filmed in Georgia back in 2019 and wrapped just weeks before the pandemic impacted all productions in 2020.
The film, which was originally set for release this month, is scheduled for world premiere August 2021.