Though Cynthia Erivo is being lauded by some media outlets for her portrayal of the Queen of Soul in the upcoming “Genius: Aretha” biopic series, Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter said the family isn’t supporting it because they were “extremely disrespected.”
In a video circulating on social media, Grace Franklin is shown with other members of the Franklin family, which includes her siblings, parents and some of her friends, protesting and chanting “This movie has to go.”
“As the immediate family, we feel that it’s important to be involved with any biopic of my Grandma’s life as it’s hard to get any accurate depiction of anyone’s life without speaking to the one’s closest to them,” Grace said. “During the process of writing, directing and filming this movie, we’ve reached out to Genius as a family on multiple occasions where we’ve been disrespected and told that we will not be worked with.”
The family has asked that fans stand in solidarity with them and boycott of the series that is set to premiere on the National Geographic channel on March 21.
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“As the immediate family – emphasis on immediate – we do not support this film and we ask that you also do not support this film as we feel extremely disrespected and we feel that there will be many inaccuracies about my grandmother’s life,” Grace continued.
Grace implied the family does support the “Respect” biopic in development that will star Jennifer Hudson, whom the legendary Queen handpicked to portray her before her death.
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This is not the first time the family has blasted the “Genius” series. In February, Franklin’s youngest son, Kecalf Franklin, 50, posted in all caps on Instagram, saying the project was “pushed through without our consent,” adding, “If you are a true fan please do not support it!!!”
Kecalf was careful to note that the family did not have an issue with the actors in the series because “we know they are just doing their jobs.”
However, there are some Black Americans who do have issue with Erivo, who is British American, playing Franklin. An Oscar away from becoming the youngest EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), Erivo received similar criticism for playing Harriet Tubman in 2019’s “Harriet.”
Social media users were divided in their response to the Franklin family’s request. “I’ll be watching! It’s based on the book of you didn’t have a problem with the book why with the movie it’s based on,” @shortnthick4 tweeted.
“No hate towards Miss Erivo, but if the Franklin family(especially Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter, Grace Franklin) asked us to not supported this movie and they’re disrespected, then I won’t watch or support this biopic,” @moodysullie tweeted.