The award-winning and critically acclaimed MR. SOUL! launches on HBO Max this Sunday, August 22nd! The film highlights ELLIS HAIZLIP, host of the first national Black variety show on television from 1968-1973 appropriately titled SOUL! Political, outspoken, and openly gay, Ellis made sure the ‘revolution was televised’ and beamed into American households on a weekly basis on PBS. The film is produced and directed by Melissa Haizlip and won Best First Documentary Feature at the 2020 Critics Choice Documentary Awards, and Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture) at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards. “Mr. SOUL!” was also shortlisted at the 93rd Academy Awards in the category of Best Original Song, for “Show Me Your Soul” by Grammy Award-winning composer Robert Glasper and Grammy Award-winning singer Lalah Hathaway.
Watch the trailer below:
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL! From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show, SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered and uncompromising celebration of music, politics, dance, Black literature, and poetry. SOUL! was the first national variety show to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. With participants’ recollections and myriad archival clips, Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in our nation’s cultural rise, whose impact continues to resonate across generations and cultures.
Mr.SOUL! celebrates rich cultural moments with astonishing footage of interviews and rare live performances by icons and luminaries such as Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Cicely Tyson, Harry Belafonte, Muhammad Ali, The Last Poets, Earth, Wind & Fire, Sidney Poitier, Mavis Staples, Black Ivory, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Maya Angelou, Billy Preston, Toni Morrison, Bill Withers, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Kool & the Gang, Roberta Flack, Kathleen Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, Carmen de Lavallade, George Faison, Melba Moore, Max Roach, and a 16-year-old Arsenio Hall making his television debut performing magic tricks.
The much-anticipated Mr. SOUL! soundtrack will be available on Hillman Grad Records / Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. The first single off the soundtrack will be “Show Me Your Soul,” performed by Lalah Hathaway, and written by Robert Glasper, Lalah Hathaway, Muhammad Ayers, and Melissa Haizlip.
For more information on Mr. SOUL!, please visit www.mrsoulmovie.com and @mrsoulthemovie on Instagram and Twitter.