For those of us who wish we were born in the era of love, peace, and soul, BET’s bringing us one step closer with their new 70’s-set drama American Soul.
HelloBeautiful’s got a first look at Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight in this exclusive clip. The “Empress of Soul” listens to Don Cornelius, portrayed by Sinqua Walls, as he details his vision of what would later become one of the longest-running syndicated programs in American television, Soul Train.
“I’m talking about a national television show written, produced, and owned black folks,” Cornelius explains in this first look. “I’m talking about bringing us not whitewashed, not toned-down, but us, into millions of homes, like it or not! Black folks the way black folks was meant to be seen: strong, powerful, and beautiful. Won’t be another show like it. And it won’t just be mine— it’ll be all of ours.”
American Soul will, of course, feature music, dance, fashion and the glamour of the times while depicting the untold story of the launch of the first nationally-syndicated Black music show and what happened when the music stopped. Battles with record labels for top talent, off-camera drama as young dancers vie for the spotlight stand in the way of a 30-something Don Cornelius who is sacrificing all that he loves to follow his dream. The journeys of these characters collide in a racially charged LA with the odds stacked against them and all they have is each other and the magic of Soul Train.
If that’s not enough to draw you in the show is seriously stacked with a number of guest stars, including Rowland’s former band mate Michelle Williams as the legendary Diana Ross, Bobby Brown as the over-the-top Rufus Thomas, Gabrielle Dennis (The Bobby Brown Story) as the captivating Tina Turner, McKinley Freeman (Hit the Floor) as Ike Turner, and singer and TV personality K. Michelle as Martha Reeves.
American Soul premieres Feb. 5 at 9pm ET/PT on BET.