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On the set of SOUL!, original director Stan Lathan stands with the cameraman filming a segment featuring Ellis Haizlip (host) with special guest filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song) in a scene from MR. SOUL! – A FILM BY MELISSA HAIZLIP – Courtesy of Shoes In The Bed Productions

The award winning and critically acclaimed documentary Mr. SOUL! directed by Melissa Haizlip will premiere on HBO Max on August 1, 2021.

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.

Watch the trailer for Mr. SOUL!

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