NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Homegrown talent makes national TV debut in NatGeo’s limited series 'Genius: Aretha'

Patrice Covington.PNG
Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 26, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Get used to hearing the name Patrice Covington! The Emmy award-winning actress and singer who hails from Hampton Roads is starring in a nationally televised mini-series.

A Broadway veteran, Covington has toured the globe with all-star Broadway casts and is now playing a major role in her television debut in National Geographic's anthology series, "Genius: Aretha."

Covington brings to life the late Erma Franklin, an American gospel singer, activist and elder sister to the legendary Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, played by Cynthia Erivo.

The series highlights the intersection of music and social justice within a familial context. Patrice says it all began in the 757.

“I’m privileged to have had Virginia as my home because I had the Hurrah Players, Center Stage; I had the Governor’s School, but I actually started working on the Spirit of Norfolk as a singer," said Covington.

Covington has earned many credits since her early days in Hampton Roads singing at the historic First Baptist Church on Bute Street in Norfolk.

Related: A look inside Netflix's 'Voices of Fire,' shining a light on local singers' journey to the global stage

Among the highlights, she performed in the Tony award-winning Broadway productions "A Color Purple” and “Motown: The Musical." She also toured the world singing backup with Stevie Wonder and Christina Aguilera.

NatGeo’s limited series "Genius: Aretha" is now streaming on Hulu.