The movie “Mr Soul!” tells the legacy of “SOUL!”, the public television variety show produced and hosted by Ellis Haizlip (the director’s uncle) that shined the spotlight on the black arts movement. To enhance the image, the music is composed by Grammy winner Robert Glasper, as well as narration from Blair Underwood, who is also one of the film’s executive producers. In his four-star review of the film posted on this site, our reviewer Glenn Kenny wrote that “the clips for the series – and seriously, can someone put the whole series together and stream it, or on physical media? one way or another – reveal it as a phantasmagoria of black excellence. “The film was recently shown nationwide on Independent lens, PBS during Black History Month and airs on the PBS app.
Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway, daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, today released the exclusive video for their song from the film, “Show Me Your Soul”, which is nominated for Best Original Song and is on the Oscars list (see below).
Representatives of the black arts movement who appeared on “SOUL!” were timeless talents like Patti LaBelle, Harry Belafonte, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Sidney Poitier, The Last Poets, Gladys Knight, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Muhammad Ali, Cicely Tyson, Earth Wind & Fire, Ashford & Simpson, Roberta Flack, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Billy Preston, Black Ivory, The Delfonics, Bill Withers, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Merry Clayton, Mandrill, Kool & the gang, Toni Morrison, Kathleen Cleaver, Betty Shabazz, Stokely Carmichael, Mrs. Georgia Jackson and George Faison. In an era when African Americans were not consistently featured on television except in negative stereotypes, this program opened up new avenues for representation during its run from 1968 to 1973.
The film’s distributors, Shoes In The Bed Productions and Open Your Eyes & Think MF, are proud to announce the continued release of Virtual Cinema at 25 theaters celebrating its seventh month of release (for a full list of times, click here). Last September marked the 52nd anniversary of the first episode of SOUL! on September 12, 1968. From that day forward, Ellis Haizlip and his inclusive team of black and mostly female producers, directors, crews and guest artists have made history every week. And now, through this film, Ellis continues to inspire and inspire the pride of new generations of fans. As he states in the film, “the black seeds keep growing,” the time is right and most important.