Video Soul

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Video Soul
StarringDonnie Simpson
Sherry Carter
Country of originUnited States
Running time120 minutes
Original release
NetworkBlack Entertainment Television (BET)[1]
ReleaseJune 26, 1981 (1981-06-26)[2] –
September 1996 (1996-09)

Video Soul is a two–hour long American music video program that originally aired on BET (Black Entertainment Television) from June 26, 1981[3] to September 1996.[4][5] The program was devoted to showcasing R&B and Soul recording artists and performers' music videos.[6]


Video Soul premiered on June 26, 1981 and was originally a half-hour show. The show was created after MTV refused to play videos by most African-American musicians,[7] as MTV made the de facto color policy effective. Both BET and Video Soul served as a place of refuge for new African-American musical talent.[8] The expanded two-hour long primetime version premiered on June 26, 1983 and aired from 9 to 11 p.m. E.T., Monday through Thursdays. A top 20 countdown aired Friday nights, 9–11 p.m. E.T. as well. Throughout the early to mid-1990s, until the show ended, it aired from 8 to 10 pm E.T.

Virgil Hemphill was the original first host of the series, calling himself the "Reverend Eldorado". After Hemphill left the series, Donnie Simpson became the show's most prominent VJ although he joined the show a few years after it premiered. Sherry Carter (who also hosted BET's Video LP, a half-hour-long video program) and Sheila Banks were the other hosts. Throughout its run, it was responsible for surprise guests, bringing groups/bands back together, memorable interviews, etc. A number of up-and coming artists had their first interview on Video Soul.

Other formats[edit]

Video Soul Top-20 aired on Fridays, and showcased the hottest top 20 videos of the week. It was also known as The Coca-Cola Video Soul Top-20 Countdown, as Coca-Cola became a sponsor of the show. Video Soul By Request was a two-hour long video block on Saturdays. This edition premiered in mid-1992. It showcased videos requested by viewers who called a 1-900 number. Throughout its run, Sherry Carter hosted unseen when she became a host for Video Soul in 1992.


Donnie Simpson planned to bring back the program in 2019. It was unclear if it would be filmed in Washington, D.C. like the original series. Two years later, the program eventually premiered on Tubi.


  • Donnie Simpson (1983–1996)
  • Sherry Carter (1992–1996)
  • Sheila Banks
  • Kenya Moore
  • Brett Walker (1994–1996)
  • Leslie "Big Lez" Segar (1994–1995)


  1. ^ BET+Denisoff, R. Serge (1989). Inside Mtv. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 9781412826303. Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Whitaker, Matthew C. (2011). Icons of Black America: Breaking Barriers and Crossing Boundaries, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313376429. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  3. ^ Black Star Power - David Earl Jackson
  4. ^ Smith-Shomade, Beretta E. (21 August 2012). Pimpin' Ain't Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television. Routledge. ISBN 9781135869489. Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (23 April 1994). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  6. ^ "Why B.E.T. Sucks".
  7. ^ "Why it took MTV so long to play black music videos". Jet Magazine. 9 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  8. ^ Zad, Martie (8 April 1990). "BET CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY WITH 'VIDEO SOUL'". Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via

External links[edit]