United States / 2018 / 90 minutes / Documentary Feature
Rated: 14A (Ontario)
Directors: Melissa Haizlip, Samuel D. Pollard
Featuring: Ellis Haizlip, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Al Green, Gladys Knight, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Kathleen Cleaver
Co-winner, Best Music Documentary of the Year, International Documentary Association
“A rich and illuminating piece of cultural history.” – Hollywood Reporter
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Ellis Haizlip. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, this fearless black pioneer reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage. Hip, smart, and charismatic, he was the host and executive producer of SOUL!, the first “black Tonight Show”. In his personal fight for social equality, he ensured that the Revolution would be televised. The film celebrates the groundbreaking PBS series from its genesis to its eventual loss of funding against the backdrop of a swiftly changing political and social landscape, while offering a nuanced and fascinating portrait of the soul behind SOUL!, Haizlip, who had his own story to tell.