D: Melissa Haizlip
Premiering in 1968, SOUL! was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, merging artists from the margins with post–civil rights Black radical thought. Visionary producer-turned-host Ellis Haizlip—openly gay and committed to charting new aesthetic territory—brought the avant-garde into the mainstream by foregrounding poetry and politics. Debuting icons like Patti Labelle, Ashford & Simpson and Arsenio Hall alongside early legends such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and the Last Poets, Haizlip's keen ear for talent propelled a cultural shift so powerful it pushed Nixon into action. Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Kathleen Cleaver and more reflect on this lost chapter of pop culture history and revisit their time on Soul! With original music by Robert Glasper, take a deep dive into these unseen yet urgent archives and learn about the complex man who was the SOUL! of it all.