Before BET: Black cultural space on the small screen
Tuning into Soul! Programming liberation!
WED | April 23 | 6-8 PM
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
800 S. Halsted
Media scholar, Devorah Heitner reads from her newest work Black Power TV. Heitner will be joined by WBEZ journalist Natalie Moore to explore the public television show Soul! We will return to a particular moment in American television when Soul!, a national program coming out of New York, carved out a cultural space that resisted the politics of respectability, introduced audiences to a vibrant Black creative and political aesthetic, pushed past normative boundaries of gender and sexuality while entertaining viewers and valuing Black life and performance.
Book sales and signing to follow the conversation.
DJ set before and after program.
For a short time in the late 60s and early 70s Soul! was public television’s national Black arts and entertainment program. A weekly all-Black variety talk show, Soul! brought the country’s top Black musicians and cultural figures, like The Last Poets, Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, and Stevie Wonder to New York to converse with the program’s hosts and perform before a studio audience. Far more than just a music and arts show, Soul! made the connections between Black arts and Black politics explicit while documenting the explosion of Black music and Black poetry in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It celebrated both traditional arts and genres, such as jazz, blues, rock and roll, and classical dance, as well as the newer avant-garde art forms connected to the Black Arts movement, positioning the guest artists as authorities on Black Liberation.
* All views expressed are those of the guests and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, or the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Architecture and the Arts.