Mr. Soul! (2018) by Melissa Haizlip & Samuel Pollard
After the aftermath of the turbulent Harlem riots, a New York City’s public television station made the bold move of producing the first all-black variety show, which would later be broadcasted nationally on PBS and would earn an Emmy (way before Oprah and Arsenio), called Soul! (1968-1973). This was supposed to be a version of The Tonight Show which centred around African-American culture through music, poetry, dance and activism, produced and hosted by the charismatic, smart, political, and gay star Ellis Haizlip, later nicknamed Mr. Soul. Haizlip started a revolutionary journey that led him to feature big names like Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poiter or Stevie Wonder on screen, and this documentary focuses on him and his subsequent significant impact on the entertainment industry and also society as a whole.