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Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

When Ellis Haizlip, a producer of black theater, was asked to help create a “black Tonight Show” in the late 1960s, he nixed the idea in favor of something more original.

Haizlip chose the word “soul” for the title, his white co-producer added the exclamation point, and “Soul!” quickly became must viewing for many black Americans who rarely saw themselves reflected on the small screen.

Combining clips from the show with new interviews, directors Melissa Haizlip (Ellis’ niece) and Samuel D. Pollard capture how exciting “Soul!” was — not just for viewers but for the artists and other cultural figures who appeared on the national showcase.

For five years during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history — the days of assassinations and protests rendered here through a fresh selection of archival images — Haizlip, a soft-spoken intellectual, brought his vision of “black love and black strength and black encouragement” to public television from the studios of New York PBS station WNET.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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