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Rapper/actor Tip "T.I." Harris has been added to the cast of an upcoming Aretha Franklin TV project, Genius: Aretha. The "ASAP" hitmaker portrays Franklin's one-time lover, fashion designer Ken Cunningham.

Actress Cynthia Erivo will star as the late music icon in Genius: Aretha, an authorized limited TV series that chronicles the life and legacy of the late Queen of Soul.

Although production was halted earlier this month due to the global coronavirus chaos, show officials have unveiled new cast additions.

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T.I., 39, will play socially-conscious New York entrepreneur Cunningham, who approaches Aretha to invest in his fashion business, and ends up embarking on a relationship with the singer.

Cunningham eventually became the singer's road manager, and fathered her youngest son, Kecalf Cunningham, who was born in April, 1970.

Notorious star Antonique Smith and acting newcomers Tina Fears and Ethan Henry have also been added to the line-up, with Henry set to portray civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The news was released to coincide with what would have been Aretha's 78th birthday on Wednesday, March 25.

Producers at National Geographic Network marked the occasion by releasing a new image of Erivo as the "Respect" legend.

Genius: Aretha, which also stars Courtney B. Vance as the musician's father, Rev. C.L. Franklin, was due to premiere this spring, but will now launch at a later date.

The TV series isn't the only screen project about Aretha in the works - Jennifer Hudson is also playing Franklin in a new movie biopic, titled Respect, which is set to debut this Christmas.

The biopic was pushed back from its previously-announced October opening, according to Deadline.

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Fox 21 Television Studios released a first-look photo of British actress Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin.

The studio released a photo that shows Erivo, 32, seated at a piano in a scene from Genius: Aretha, the upcoming biographical series from National Geographic.

Tony Award winner Erivo is best known for her portrayal of American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The movie Harriet is in theaters now.

Erivo will play Aretha in the third installment of the "Genius" series.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Franklin died of natural causes at age 76 at her home in Detroit, Michigan on August 16, 2018. She is pictured above in 1968.

Erivo told Deadline.com she has been preparing herself for the role over the last few months.

"I've been preparing myself to embody the Queen of Soul, from re-listening to her music to discovering her rare interviews and reading some amazing books on her — all to really capture Aretha's attitude and spirit. I'm truly humbled to be working alongside a very talented and musical team. Together, we'll serve the Queen and create something special."

Also featured in the cast is actor Courtney B. Vance, 59, who plays Aretha's father, Rev. C. L. Franklin.

Vance is married to actress Angela Bassett, 61. He is best known for his role in The Preacher's Wife (1996), alongside the late singer Whitney Houston.

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Photos: BrosNYC / BACKGRID

Aretha Franklin fans reacted with excitement to the first images of singer Jennifer Hudson portraying the Queen of Soul in the upcoming biopic titled RESPECT, filmed on location in Manhattan's Harlem Neighborhood.

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Jennifer, pictured at a July 4th concert in Philadelphia, was transformed into Aretha for a scene with costar Marlon Wayans, 47, who plays her onscreen husband Ted While. In the scene, which takes place in 1966, Marlon collects money from prostitutes while Jennifer looks on from a car.

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Later Jennifer and Marlon share a passionate kiss in the car. The images were shot on November 2 by BACKGRID celebrity photo agency.

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Aretha, who passed away on Aug. 16, 2018 at age 76, personally handpicked Jennifer to play her in the biopic.

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DreamWorks Pictures

The 38-year-old American Idol finalist is no stranger to big budget musicals. She played Effie Melody White in the 2006 movie, Dreamgirls, with Beyonce, left, and Anika Noni Rose, center. Jennifer notably sang "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" in the film Dreamgirls.

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