Aretha Franklin

The "Queen of Soul" will be the genius of TV


The first two "Genius" mini-series piled up 16 Emmy nominations and lots of praise. Now comes an interesting switch: The third one will profile Aretha Franklin. That's expected to be in the spring of 2020, but we can get in the mood with a tribute concert next month. Here's the story I sent to papers:

PASADENA, Cal. --
Already the queen of soul, the late Aretha Franklin adds another
title: She's officially a genius, alongside Albert Einstein and Pablo
Picasso.

Grammys -- a VERY big show


For most shows, this would have been the show-stopping finale -- five amazing divas, combining for a stunning tribute. For the Grammy awards, however, that was just the opening number.

There they were, in what was billed as both a Valentine's card and a get-well-soon card to Aretha Franklin. Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Martina McBride, Florence Welch (from Florence and the Machine) and gospel great Yolanda Adams combined to sing Aretha songs. Franklin -- recovering in Detroit, after surgery for pancreatic cancer -- recorded a thank-you message.

It's a great day


This was the best TV show I've seen in, approximately, forever. And it was simply real life -- Barack Obama becoming president.

The music -- from Aretha Franklin, a chamber quartet and a Navy chorus -- was magnificent. So was the irony.

Franklin sang "sweet land of liberty" and "let freedom ring," in front of a Capitol partly built by slaves. She was, newsmen pointed out, about 1,000 feet from the location of a pen where slaves were held.

We might gripe -- hey, TV critics do that -- about two things: