The BET’s highly-anticipated new series, 'American Soul,' is slated to premiere on February 5, and while the buzz is about its star-studded cast, there's an eager curiosity among the audience to know the real story of how Don Cornelius created the cultural phenomenon, 'Soul Train.'
'Soul Train' was a 35-year-running music-dance television program which first aired on October 2, 1971 with R&B and soul performances by various artists.
As the program became a cultural sensation, dance/pop and hip hop artists, as well as jazz, disco, and gospel artists appeared on the show, echoing "Soooooouuuuuuul Traaaaaain," on Saturday mornings. The show not only promoted but revolutionized the music and the dance culture, especially of the African-American community and the world loved it for almost over three decades.
As fans are still hit by the 'Soul Train' nostalgia, a great interest has been generated about the show's first host and executive producer Donald 'Don' Cornelius.
Hailing from Chicago, the then 33-year-old radio DJ created something that would be embedded in the very fabric of African-American culture. Here's what we know about 'American Soul,' that starts airing next week.
Sinqua Walls plays Don Cornelius
Popularly known for his role as Shawn, Kanan’s son, on Starz Network's 'Power,' Walls will portray the legendary icon as he navigates along with his 'Soul Train' dancers and musicians through a "cutthroat Hollywood" in the 1970s.
Who are the rest of the talented cast members?
Award-winning singers Kelly Rowland and Kelly Price also appear in 'American Soul'. Rowland will play the role of legendary singer Gladys Knight, while Price will play Brianne Clarke, the extremely wise yet cautious head of the Clarke household. The two-powerhouse talents will be joined by Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson , Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol and Jelani Winston.
What will the show focus on?
As mentioned above, it will definitely revolve around the private and professional life of Don Cornelius and "his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in a cutthroat Hollywood in the 1970s and how they work, play, rise and fall against the backdrop of the show most responsible for the way African-American culture was perceived by the world."
In addition to that, the show will also "explore the deep drama within families in LA as they deal with the beginning of the drug epidemic, the rise of gangs, police oppression, war and so much more. The stories will inspire as we take a look at the past and see its impact on the here and now,” Jesse Collins, the executive producer said in an interview.
How many episodes will it have?
Season one was ordered with 10 episodes.
Who is bringing back 'Soul Train' on TV?
BET's 'American Soul,' is produced by Jesse Collins ('The New Edition Story' and 'The Bobby Brown Story') and according to him the show will take the viewers on a journey beyond musical performances. In his interview with Essence, he said; "American Soul will give the audience a unique look into the Black experience in the 70’s and the radical impact that ‘Soul Train’ and its display of Black excellence had on Black culture just as it started to influence American pop culture through music and television."
Is there a trailer?
And there's 'behind the scenes' too.
When will the show air?
The series premieres on February 5 at 9 pm ET on BET.