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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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Lena Waithe (right) has reportedly left her life partner Alana Mayo for another woman. According to gossip blog Bossip.com, a source confirmed Waithe, 35, and Harriet actress Cynthia Erivo (left) are living together.

Waithe's publicist announced the split in a statement to People.com on Wednesday.

"After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways," the statement read. "We have nothing but support for one another and ask that you respect our privacy during this time."

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Mayo (left) is pictured with Waithe during happier times. The two women dated for three years before tying the knot in a quickie same-sex union in a San Francisco courthouse in August.

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Erivo, 33, made no secret about her love for the "Queen & Slim" Waithe in social media posts.

In one photo, the actress wrote: "I finally found my sis. Lena you are absolutely everything. You are perfection. What a meeting of minds, glad to have you in my life! Stuck like glue !!! SHINE QUEEN SHINE!!"

The British actress, who was born under the Capricorn star sign, has earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet (2019).

Erivo was previously involved in a relationship with British actor Dean John-Wilson. After dating three years, she dumped him for actor Mario Martinez.

Like she did with Waithe, she expressed her love for Martinez in an Instagram post on Valentine's Day 2019.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Erivo gushed:

"He chased me," she said. "The last time, I was not with my ex anymore -- except this time he did not ask. He just walked up to me and gave me a kiss."

Friends say Waithe pursued Erivo because she gets a thrill from turning out heterosexual women. The male-identified lesbian reportedly told one source, "[Cynthia's] man can't do what I can do for her."

Erivo moved on quickly with Waithe when she opened Hollywood doors and helped her score coveted acting roles.

Waithe was raised by her single mother and grandmother on the South Side of Chicago. Her parents divorced when she was only 3. She never knew her father.
 

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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.

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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.