|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||16 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||39–42 minutes|
|Original release||February 5, 2019 –|
American Soul is an American drama television series, created by Jonathan Prince and Devon Greggory, that premiered on February 5, 2019, on BET. The series tells the story of Don Cornelius and the creation of his legendary music and dance program Soul Train and it stars an ensemble cast including Sinqua Walls, Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol, Jelani Winston, and Kelly Price. In April 2019, it was renewed for a second seasonand premiered on May 27, 2020.
American Soul tells the story of Don Cornelius, "his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in a cutthroat Hollywood in the 1970s and how they worked, played, rose and fell against the backdrop of the show that was most responsible for the way African-American culture was perceived by the world then."
The first season takes place between the first two seasons of Soul Train between 1971 and 1973. The second season will time jump two years later in 1975.
Cast and characters
- Sinqua Walls as Don Cornelius
- Jason Dirden as Gerald Aims
- Jelani Winston as Kendall Clarke (season 1)
- Christopher Jefferson as Julius "JT" Tucker
- Iantha Richardson as Tessa Lorraine
- Kelly Price as Brianne Clarke
- Katlyn Nichol as Simone Clarke
- India McGee as Flo, a dancer on Soul Train
- Perri L. Camper as Delores Cornelius, Don's former first wife
- Christopher B. Duncan as Ray Bradley (season 2)
- Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight (season 1)
- Shannon Kane as Ilsa Dejarnette, a vindictive lawyer for Motown
- Javon Johnson as George Johnson, founder of Afro and Ultra Sheen and a close friend of Don's (season 1)
- Phillip Mullings Jr. as Patrick Lorriane, a LAPD detective and husband of Tessa (season 1)
- Simeon Daise as Reggie Michaels, revolutionary gangster
- Joseph Lee Anderson as Joseph Clarke, a Vietnam veteran, husband of Brianne, and father of Simone and Kendall, who is killed while on a tour of duty in Vietnam
- James Devonti as Brooks Donald, a slightly bigoted business partner of Don's
- Shannon Wallace as Private Nate Barker (season 1)
- Njema Williams as Uncle Pete (season 1)
- Candace West as TBA, girlfriend of JT, rival of Simone Clarke (season 2)
- Kearran Giovanni as Ruby Daniels, an acquaintance of Gerald and ex-girlfriend of Don (season 2)
- Michael Christopher Rodney as Woody Harley, ex-lover of Simone Clarke, rival of JT (season 2)
- Michelle Williams as Diana Ross
- Bobby Brown as Rufus Thomas
- Gabrielle Dennis as Tina Turner
- McKinley Freeman as Ike Turner
- K. Michelle as Martha Reeves
- Wayne Brady as Little Richard
- Darius McCrary as James Brown
- Ledisi as Patti LaBelle
- Big Boi as George Clinton
- Tone Bell as Richard Pryor
- Melanie Fiona as Chaka Khan
- Demetria McKinney as June Pointer
- Yung Joc as Garry Shider
- London Brown as Bootsy Collins
- DC Young Fly as Sly Stone
- Hudson Thames as Elton John
- Alex Ball as Dick Clark
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||February 5, 2019||April 2, 2019|
|2||8||May 27, 2020||July 15, 2020|
Season 1 (2019)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"Man is First Destiny"||Peter O'Fallon||Story by : Jonathan Prince & Devon Greggory |
Teleplay by : Devon Greggory
|February 5, 2019||0.89|
|2||2||"Continuous Revolution In Progress"||Peter O'Fallon||Devon Greggory & Katlyn Nichol||February 5, 2019||0.99|
|3||3||"Lost and Found"||Robert Townsend||Annmarie Morais||February 12, 2019||0.68|
|4||4||"Just Us"||Robert Townsend||A. Zell Williams||February 19, 2019||0.55|
|5||5||"Fault Lines"||Peter O'Fallon||Nathan Alan Davis||February 26, 2019||0.44|
|6||6||"What Are You Looking At?"||Peter O'Fallon||Zach Ayers||March 5, 2019||0.57|
|7||7||"Nothing To Fear"||Chris Robinson||Sara Finney-Johnson||March 12, 2019||0.45|
|8||8||"Nothing Ventured…Nothing Gained"||Angela Barnes Gomes||Annmarie Morais||March 19, 2019||0.37|
|9||9||"68 B.C."||Angela Barnes Gomes||Zach Ayers & Devon Greggory||March 26, 2019||0.41|
|10||10||"Proceed With Caution"||Chris Robinson||Annmarie Morais||April 2, 2019||0.50|
Season 2 (2020)
|Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original air date ||U.S. viewers|
|11||1||"1975"||Thomas Carter||Judy McCreary||May 27, 2020||0.74|
|12||2||"Fame"||Thomas Carter||Zach Ayers||June 3, 2020||0.56|
|13||3||"Satisfaction"||John Scott||Yvette Foy||June 10, 2020||0.64|
|14||4||"Lovely Day"||John Scott||Norman Vance Jr.||June 17, 2020||0.67|
|15||5||"Say You Love Me"||Crystle Roberson||Norman Vance Jr.||June 24, 2020||0.61|
|16||6||"Low Rider"||Crystle Roberson||Yvette Foy||July 1, 2020||0.53|
|17||7||"Love Will Keep Us Together"||Christopher Jefferson||Zach Ayers||July 8, 2020||TBD|
|18||8||"So Long, Sucker"||Sinqua Walls||Judy McCreary||July 15, 2020||TBD|
On April 10, 2018, it was announced that BET had given a series order to the production for a first season consisting of ten episodes. Executive producers are set to include Jesse Collins, Jonathan Prince and Devon Greggory. Tony Cornelius will co-executive produce alongside Andy Horne. Greggory will write the pilot episode and Jesse Collins Entertainment will produce. On September 4, 2018, it was confirmed that Greggory and Prince had created the series and that Prince would also co-write the pilot episode. On November 25, 2018, it was announced that the series would premiere on February 5, 2019. On April 2, 2019, it was announced that the series was renewed for a second season which will premiere on May 27, 2020.
In September 2018, it was announced that Sinqua Walls, Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol, Jelani Winston, and Kelly Price had been cast in series regular roles and that Kelly Rowland would appear in a recurring capacity. On October 12, 2018, it was reported that Shannon Kane and Perri Camper had been cast in recurring roles. On December 21, 2018, it was announced that Michelle Williams, Bobby Brown, Gabrielle Dennis, McKinley Freeman, and K. Michelle would make guest appearances.
Principal photography for the series commenced in Atlanta, Georgia on September 17, 2018 and was scheduled to last until December 2018. In September 2018, filming for the series transpired at Pullman Yard on September 17, in Downtown Atlanta on September 18th, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 19, and at Armour Yard on September 20th. In October 2018, filming continued in Atlanta with shooting taking place at Pullman Yard on October 7 and at the Bitsy Grant Tennis Center in Buckhead on October 27. In November 2018, filming occurred in Sandy Springs, Georgia on November 9 with shooting place at a Robert Green designed private home and in Downtown Atlanta on November 27. In December 2018, the production was working out of Palmetto on December 10 and 11.
On January 29, 2019, the series held its New York premiere at the New World Stage in New York City. Those in attendance included BET Networks President Scott Mills, executive producer Tony Cornelius, and actors Sinqua Walls, Kelly Price, Jason Dirden, Naturi Naughton, Jelani Winston, Katlyn Nichol, Shannon Wallace, Christopher Jefferson, and Iantha Richardson.
On February 4, 2019, the series held its Los Angeles premiere at the Wolf Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Those in attendance included Sinqua Walls, Jason Dirden, Tami Roman, McKinley Freeman, Tank, Robert Townsend, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Tommy Davidson, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Tony Cornelius, Christina Cornelius, Scott Mills, Leon Robinson, Kenny Burns, Jesse Collins, Christopher Jefferson, Candace West, Katlyn Nichol, Iantha Richardson and India McGee.
The series has been met with a positive response from critics upon its premiere. Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the series a score of 70 out of 100 based on 4 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
The series was submitted by BET for fourteen categories at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards, but none were selected. Kelly Rowland received a nomination for Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy or Drama Series at the NAACP Image Awards.
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