BILL VAUGHAN’S TASTY CLIPS: ‘Mr. SOUL!’ looks at America’s first ‘Black Tonight Show’

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On the set of ‘SOUL!,’ host Ellis Haizlip (middle) is surrounded by members of the J.C. White Singers after their moving performance in a scene from ‘Mr. SOUL!’ (Courtesy of Shoes In The Bed Productions)

By Bill Vaughan, Entertainment Writer

“Mr. SOUL!,” the documentary on America’s first “Black Tonight Show” that became a magnet for awards on the festival circuit, is opening Aug. 28 in more than 60 virtual cinemas and partnering theater/drive-ins nationwide.

The film is a loving tribute to the television show “SOUL!,” produced and hosted by Ellis Haizlip from New York on public broadcasting from 1968-1973.

It gave the nation a window into the Black Power Movement and the civil rights movement of the era with live performances and interviews from the likes of Al Green, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, James Baldwin, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ashford & Simpson, Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, Billy Preston, the Delfonics, Bill Withers, Wilson Pickett, Odetta, Merry Clayton, Mandrill, Kool & the Gang, Toni Morrison, Kathleen Cleaver, Betty Shabazz, Stokely Carmichael, Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and many more.

To celebrate opening weekend, comedian/actress/producer Amanda Seales will guest host the “Mr. SOUL! Premiere Kickback,” a special online talkback recreation of the program with the film’s director Melissa Haizlip; actor and executive producer Blair Underwood; legendary director/producer Stan Lathan (who also appears in the film); Grammy winner and the film’s composer Robert Glasper; award-winning writer, poet and activist Nikki Giovanni; award-winning poets/musicians the Last Poets and Felipe Luciano; the R&B group Black Ivory; and the iconic author, poet and professor Sonia Sanchez.

Access to the all-star dialogue on Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. will be included with your ticket to the film, with details available at www.mrsoulmovie.com.

WAP THIS: Megan Thee Stallion, who currently tops the charts on Cardi B’s raunchy “WAP,” after holding the spot with her own “Savage Remix” (featuring Beyoncé), will be giving her first live virtual concert on Aug. 29 at 3 p.m. Tickets are available for the event, produced by Live Nation, at www.universe.com/events/megan-thee-stallion-live-tickets-4K6TW1

HEAVY SPIN: After postponements due to the coronavirus, Record Store Day has been rescheduled to take place on three dates: Aug. 29, Sept. 26 and Oct. 24. Visit your local outposts this weekend for the first batch of exclusive releases by Gary Clark Jr., the Black Keys, Bob James, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Charlie Parker, Chet Baker, David Bowie, Denzel Curry, Fela, Giorgio Moroder, Gorillaz, Jungle Brothers, Loleatta Holloway, Minnie Ripperton, Ron Carter, Sun Ra, the Sweet Inspirations, Thelonious Monk, Tito Puente and Tyler the Creator, among others.

CLIPPETTES: According to Loni Love, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” co-star Garcelle Beauvais will be joining her, Jeannie Mai and Adrienne Houghton this season on the dais of “The Real,” replacing the departing Tamera Mowry-Housley …

Legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who this week turned 87, will be celebrated with an Aug. 28 exclusive streaming of a 2019 all-star concert featuring Joshua Redman and Ambrose Akinmusire, performing with Shorter’s bandmates Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade. For details, visit: www.sfjazz.org/watch

Tiffany Haddish revealed to Vlad TV the men and women she’d most like to work with including Denzel Washington, Michael B. Jordan, Morgan Freeman, Betty White and Cicely Tyson …

Munyungo Jackson’s Jungle Jazz Quartet; Michael O’Neill & Friends; Sy Smith ft. The Myron McKinley Trio; Mufo; and Dwight Trible perform for The Leimert Park Jazz Festival streaming live Aug. 29 beginning at noon on Facebook Live

Blitz Bazawule, the Ghanaian filmmaker and composer who was a co-director of Beyonce’s “Black Is King,” has been named helmer of the upcoming film version of the Broadway musical adaptation of “The Color Purple”

Twenty years after teaming for “The Boy Is Mine,” singers Brandy and Monica will go hit for hit as part of the viral Verzuz series on Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. from Atlanta

According to a just-released survey by Streamlytics, Disney+ has emerged as the streaming service of choice by African Americans followed by HBO Max and Peacock. BET+ came in fourth.

TC ON TV: Aug. 28 – “OWN Spotlight: Culture Connection & Aug. 28th” (OWN): Oprah Winfrey speaks separately with Ava DuVernay and Rev. Al Sharpton regarding the historical context of the day (marking the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech) and the significance of the upcoming election, along with a special presentation of DuVernay’s short film “August 28: A Day in the Life of a People,” starring Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Don Cheadle, Regina King, David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, André Holland, Michael Ealy and Glynn Turman. “The Binge” (Hulu): Vince Vaughn, Affion Crockett and Godfrey are featured in this parody of “The Purge” films imagining a day in the future when illegal drinking and drugs are permissible for 24 hours.

Aug. 29 – “Girlfriends Check In” (OWN): Melody Holt of “Love & Marriage: Huntsville”

Aug. 30 – “Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter” (Sundance): Daveed Diggs (“Snowpiercer”), Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: Picard”) and others discuss their role as drama actors. “2020 MTV Video Music Awards” (CW/MTV): Keke Palmer hosts with performances by the Weeknd, BTS, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Doja Cat, DaBaby, Maluma and CNCO, to name a few. “United Shades of America” (CNN): The fifth season of W. Kamau Bell’s docu-series ends with back-to-back episodes exploring “Iranian-Americans in N.Y.” and “The Homeless Crisis in LA.” “Lovecraft Country” (HBO): The gang has some explaining to do as they return to Chicago’s North Side after their last deadly trip.

Aug. 31 – “David Blaine: Ascension” (YouTube): The avant-garde magician takes on his most ambitious feat yet — floating high in the sky with a cluster of helium-filled balloons ala “Up.” It airs live. “The 93 Victims of Samuel Little” (ID): An investigation into the 80-year-old Black man who confessed to being the biggest serial killer in American history. “10 Things You Don’t Know” (E!): Rihanna

Sept. 1 – “Bookmarks” (Netflix): Celebrity readers, including Common and Misty Copeland, share children’s books by Black authors to spark kid-friendly conversations about empathy, equality, self-love and antiracism. “Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions/Malas Decisiones” (Netflix): The stand-up comedian, actor (“Superstore”) and “Last Comic Standing” winner marks a network first with his Santa Ana engagement recorded in Spanish and English for specials premiering simultaneously. “Conan” (TBS): JB Smoove

Sept. 2 – “Chef’s Table: BBQ” (Netflix): Acclaimed African-American restauranteur Rodney Scott is among the pit masters profiled in this new series offshoot. “House of Payne” (BET): After years on hiatus, Tyler Perry’s first hit TV series is back picking up five years later in the household of retired fire chief Curtis Payne (LaVan Davis) and his lovely wife Ella (Cassi Davis Patton). Also returning are regular cast members Allen Payne, Demetria McKinney, Keshia Knight Pulliam and Lance Gross. “Assisted Living” (BET): Perry’s new sitcom follows with Na’im Lynn portraying the patriarch of a young family with teenage children who helps his crazy grandpa (J. Anthony Brown) run a home for the elderly. Comedic faves David Mann and Tamela Mann reprise their roles as Mr. Brown and Cora for this show.

Sept. 3 – “Love, Guaranteed” (Netflix): Damon Wayans Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook find love in this romantic comedy about a lawsuit against a dating site. “Raised By Wolves” (HBO Max): Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “Gladiator,” “Blade Runner”) is executive producer and makes his debut directing for American television with this futuristic series about two androids tasked with raising human kids on a mysterious virgin planet. “Celebrity Game Face” (E!): Niecy Nash, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Victor Cruz and Karrueche Tran.

TASTY QUIP: “During the 2016 election, too many Americans believed the poisonous rhetoric of the election cycle played on a 24-hour loop. “Now, as our society decays, many continue to remain silent. Blaming the police is easy. Blaming ourselves is not. That silence, that discomfort we have with ‘making waves’ is partly to blame. We must speak out. No more excuses. Time is running out.” – Actress/activist ANNE-MARIE JOHNSON on premiering “Tears: The Event Against Racism & Stereotyping” at 6 p.m. on Aug. 28 at www.themankindproject.org with expressions from Beverly Johnson, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Ed Harris, Clancy Brown, Michael Dorn, George Takei, Freda Payne and more.

 

As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at tastyclips@yahoo.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.