SOUL! Broadcasting While Black


Host Eddie Hazlip talking to Amiri Baraka

I got this nugget passed along to me from Joe Knipes about a good thing going on at Channel Thirteen. For those of you not in the know, Channel Thirteen (WNET) is a public TV channel out of New York. For my whole life, I’ve watched everything from Children’s programs to Science and News programs, to Music performances on public television. I’m very proud to announce to my readers that they have the series SOUL!, which ran from 1968 to 1973 in 39 episodes (6 streaming live so far) on their website. An all African American variety show, celebrating African American Culture and Music, the list of guests were a who’s who in Black America. Guests ranging from Ashford and Simpson to Nikki Giovanni to Muhammad Ali to Rasaan Roland Kirk to Ron Carter to James Baldwin and every major player in Black culture at the time. This show not only served a musical purpose, it would be used as a political sounding board to promote activisim and awareness in the Black community. It’s musical guest were from all genres: Funk, Soul, Jazz, and World Music. It’s also the first television show of it’s kind on WNET to be recorded to video tape, rather than live. This television show was revolutionary to put it lightly, and it’s a really great thing that the episodes are being offered for FREE on their website in their entirety. This is something that is going to bring a lot of people (this author included) many hours of happiness. So if you are interested in how the world was from 1968 to 1973 from a Black perspective, check out the interviews, music, and social commentary from SOUL! You’ll be glad you did. There is also an interview with director Stan Lathan here.

Before you go, check out the release from WNET in 1968:

1968 Show Announcement

“This Notice originally appeared in the September 1968 NET Program Guide, announcing the show:

On Thursday, September 12, at 9:00 PM, Channel 13 presents the first in a series of 39 one-hour programs entitled Soul!, devoted entirely to and aimed at the metropolitan area’s black community.

The format of Soul! resembles some of the popular late night programs – segmented, lively, informative and entertaining.

Appearing on the show will be top stars and up-and-coming young talents from the black community. There will also be pertinent features dealing with all aspects of the social, cultural and artistic life of the black population.

During the course of the year Soul! expects to have as its guests such people as: Cannonball Adderley, Muhammad Ali, Amanda Ambrose, The Associations, Oscar Brown Jr., James Brown, Billy Eckstein, Richie Havens, The Impressions, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, George Shirley, Nina Simone, Jo Simon, The Supremes, Irwin C. Watson, Marion Williams, Nancy Williams. (Not all of these performers actually appeared on Soul!-ed)

Music for Soul! will be provided by a live orchestra. The show will be in color and have the added excitement and spontaneity of a studio audience.

The second program in the series will be Thursday, September 26, at 9:00 pm. Starting October 10, Soul! will be seen every week on Thursday night at the same hour.

This series is being made possible by a special grant from the Ford Foundation under its Project for New Television Programming.

Soul!, an entertainment-talk program aimed at the Black community premiered on Thursday, September 12th 1968, at 9:00 pm.”

Keep Diggin’!

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5 responses to “SOUL! Broadcasting While Black

  1. what a lovely writeup! but we don’t have 39 episodes up…we have 6, but we will have more, we’re just waiting for some more bridges to be crossed, as it were.
    thanks sir!

  2. I’m researching the life of Rahsaan Roland Kirk and have always loved his appearance on this show.

  3. Wow! I use to wait for this to come on back in the day…being a “68 hs grad.
    I first saw a group of young cats as a jazz band (later to become Kool and The Gang) on this show and got turned on to Nikki Giovanni and Lee Morgan watching it. Glad to see that it didn’t go the way of the dinosaur.

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