Video Soul

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Video Soul
Starring Donnie Simpson & Sherry Carter
Country of origin USA
Running time 120 minutes
Original network BET[1]
Original release June 1981 – September 1996

Video Soul is a 2-hour long American music video program that aired on BET from 1981 to 1996.[2][3]


Video Soul premiered in June 1981 and was originally a half-hour show. It was devoted to helping showcase new R&B/soul recording artists and performers.[4] The show was created after MTV refused to play videos by most African American musicians,[5] as MTV made the De Facto Colour policy effective. Both BET and Video Soul served as the place of refuge for new African American musical talent.[6] The expanded 2-hour long Primetime version debuted on June 26, 1983 and aired from 9-11 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Thursdays. A top 20 countdown aired Friday nights, 9-11 p.m. Eastern Time as well. Throughout the early-mid-1990s, until the show ended, it aired from 8-10 PM eastern time.

Virgil Hemphill was the original first host of the series, dubbing himself as the "Reverend Eldorado". After Hemphill left the series, Donnie Simpson became the show's most prominent veejay although he joined the show a few years after it premiered. Sherry Carter (who was 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.

Video Soul Top-20 aired on Fridays, it showcased the hottest top-20 videos of the week. It would also be 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 that were requested by viewers, who called a 1-900 number to request the video they wanted to hear. Throughout its run, Sherry Carter hosted unseen when she became a host for Video Soul in 1992.



  1. ^ Denisoff, R. Serge. "Inside Mtv". Transaction Publishers. Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via Google Books. 
  2. ^ Smith-Shomade, Beretta E. (21 August 2012). "Pimpin' Ain't Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television". Routledge. Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via Google Books. 
  3. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (23 April 1994). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books. 
  4. ^ "Why B.E.T. Sucks". 
  5. ^ "Why it took MTV so long to play black music videos". Jet Magazine. Retrieved 2006-10-09. 
  6. ^ Zad, Martie; Zad, Martie (8 April 1990). "BET CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY WITH 'VIDEO SOUL'". Retrieved 5 March 2017 – via 

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