SOUL!: Who Was On the Show

THIRTEEN Staff | February 7, 2009

The entertainment-variety-talk show SOUL! was not only a vehicle to promote African-American artistry, community and culture, but also a platform for political expression and the fight for social justice. It showcased classic live musical performances from funk, soul, jazz, and world musicians, and had in-depth, extraordinary interviews with political, sports, literary figures and more. There is an incredible guest list and below we list by episode who was on the show. SOUL! was the first program on WNET to be recorded with the then-new technology of videotape, and most of the shows were recorded in real-time—not live, but unedited.

SOUL! ran from 1968 to 1973.
* Great behind-the-scenes Ebony magazine feature from March 1972 on SOUL! and Black Journal.
* See article about the show’s cancellation from Jet magazine, June 1973.
* More about SOUL! from Jake Austen’s book TV a Go Go and Gayle Wald’s book, It’s Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television

The Hosts

SOUL! had a number of hosts, from producer/host Ellis Haizlip, Harvard Professor and psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint, to poet/spoken word artist Nikki Giovanni, and Curtis Mayfield, and many many more.

* Article in Jet magazine, March 1970, mentioning Curtis Mayfield as the host of Soul!.
* Obit for Ellis Haizlip, Jet magazine, February 1991.

SOUL! Original Broadcast Dates, Guests, and Hosts.

See select archival episodes of SOUL! at any time and the PBS documentary premiere of Independent Lens: Mr. SOUL!, about host Ellis Haizlip, on February 22, 2021 at 10 p.m.

(NOTE: this list does not reflect the existence of physical tapes of all these episodes. It is for reference only.)


September 12, 1968 (Premiere episode)
Guests: Barbara Acklin, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Novella Nelson, Billy Taylor, The Vibrations and Pearl Williams Jones, and Irwin C. Watson
Hosts: Alvin Poussaint and Loretta Long

September 26, 1968 (second episode)
Guests: Betty Shabazz (widow of Malcolm X), author Julius Lester, comedian Arnold Dover, vocalist Tiny Irvin, vocal quintet Popular Five, vocal quartet Sweet Inspirations
Hosts: Alvin Poussaint and Loretta Long

October 10, 1968
Featured: Segments of the second act of Hair, Michael Butler’s smash Broadway production of the American-Tribal Love-Rock Musical, presented with members of the show’s cast performing exactly as they did at the Biltmore Theater. Hair was the first integrated musical produced on Broadway.
Host: Alvin F. Poussaint

October 17, 1968
Guests: The Sam and Dave Revue: Sam and Dave Orchestra, comedian Redd Foxx, vocal trio The Mirettes, and vocalists Johnny “K”. Double Dynamite Duo Sam and Dave, whose sensational hit recording of “Soul Man” last year earned them their first gold record. Maxine Brown – “soul, poignancy, sex, subtlety, sincerity, humor, and warmth – packed neatly into one great voice.”
Host: Alvin F. Poussaint

October 24, 1968
Guests: Barbara Ann Teer, Marion Williams, the Last Poets, Duke and Leonard
Co-hosts: Ellis Haizlip and Loretta Long
The director is Arnee Nocks, since Ivan Cury had just had a heart attack!

October 31, 1968
Guests:Gilbert Price, The Manhattans, Lilly Fields*, and a special debate on the 1968 Presidential Elections
Hosts: Loretta Long and Ellis Haizlip

November 7, 1968
Guests: Billy Taylor Trio, vocalist and composer Delsey McKay, vocal group C and the Shells, Henry Davis of the New York Giants

November 14, 1968
Guests: comedian Joe Keyes, singing group 125th Street Candy Store, Vertamae Grosvenor, Johnny Taylor, Jimmy McGriff and Trio

November 21, 1968
Guests: vocalist Mary Wells accompanied Cecil and Harry Womack, singer Jackie Verdell, Florence Rice of the Harlem Consumer Educational Council, song stylist Shirley Shaw
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip and Loretta Long

November 28, 1968
Guests: The Rufus Harley Quartet and the Dinizulu Africa Dance Company
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip and Loretta Long

December 5, 1968
Guests: singer Maxine Brown, author Ann Moody, Clarence Haynes*, singing group The Constellations, singer George Smith
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip and Loretta Long

December 12, 1968
Tribute to Hal Jackson, popular radio personality, in recognition of his many contributions to broadcasting and the metropolitan community.
Guests: Don Covay and the Sandpebbles

December 19, 1968
This program was devoted to the Latin Soul Beat and African Music
Guests: Senorita Carla Pinza (a Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer), Los Pleneros (Puerto Rican rhythm band), Matiwane Manana* (African folk singer/dancer and his musical group), Cruz Martinez* (Puerto Rican composer/guitarist), and Clayton Riley of the Manhattan Tribune
Host: Ellis Haizlip

December 26, 1968
Guests: Alex Bradford, vocalist Lonnie Youngblood, Robert MacBeth, Chuck Jackson, Spider Harrison, The Soul Children
Host: Ellis Haizlip


January 2, 1969
Guests: Ben E. King, The Mamseilles*, Brad Lundy*, Rita Lamont*
Host: Ellis Haizlip

January 9, 1969
Guests: author James Baldwin, blues singer B.B. King, economic developer of the Harlem Commonwealth Council Norman McGhee, vocal group The O’Jays, singer Jean DuShon, and others.

January 16, 1969
Guests: vocal group Ruby and the Romantics, soloist Aldora Bitton*, singing duo Peaches and Herb, singer George Tipton, and pianist and conductor Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson
Host: Ellis Haizlip

January 23, 1969
Guests: comedians Kenny and Warren, Mario Van Peebles

January 30, 1969
Guests: vocalist Rita Lamont*, singing duo Sugar and Spice, singing group the Delfonics, cartoonist Brumsic Brandon Jr., artist Max Bond
Host: Ellis Haizlip

February 6, 1969
Guests: vocalist Jerry Butler, singer Brenda Jo Harris, Willie and the Mighty Magnificent, the Pace Brothers, actress Judy Pace, sculptress and consultant to CBS’s “Black Heritage” Inge Hardison

February 13, 1969
Guests: vocalists Eddie Floyd and Laura Lee
Host: Ellis Haizlip

February 20, 1969 (to be posted)
Guests: The Last Poets perform their latest poems, concerning contemporary black life, to drum accompaniment. Gospel singer Marion Williams, singing male duo Duke and Leonard, and actress Barbara Ann Teer
Host: Ellis Haizlip

February 27, 1969
Guests: The Five Stairsteps and Cubie, The Soul Dukes and The Phondellic Dancers*
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 6, 1969
Guests: vocalist Dee Dee Warwick, New York Democratic Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, and others
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 13, 1969
Guests: singers Joe Tex, Carol Woods and Randy Madison
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 20, 1969
Guests: Ella Mitchell and the Gospel All Stars, Jessy Dixon and the Chicago Community Choir, Inez Andrews, and The Mighty Clouds of Harmony
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 27, 1969
Guest: saxophonist King Curtis and his five-piece band the Kingpins

April 3, 1969
Guests: vocalist Eddie Floyd, The Sweet Inspirations, John Oliver Killens, and Junior Walker & the All Stars
Host: Ellis Haizlip

April 10, 1969
Guests: The Fred Benjamin Dancers and vocalist Roberta Flack
Host: Ellis Haizlip

April 17, 1969
Guests: The Precisions, Ruth McFadden, Chris White, Marva Josie and Eddie Griffin
Host: Ellis Haizlip

May 1, 1969
Guests: Novella Nelson, Pharoah Sanders Quintet with vocalist Leon Thomas, author and playwright LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka)
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip and LeRoi Jones

May 8, 1969
Guests: vocal group Archie Bell & the Drells, and vocalists Jean Wells and Paul Vann
Host: Ellis Haizlip

May 15, 1969
Guests: singing group The Precisions, comedian Tom Patterson*, and others
Host: Ellis Haizlip

May 22, 1969
Guests: singer and guitarist Clarence Carter, singers Dee Dee Sharp and Candi Staton, singing group The Lollipops, and magician Frank Brents
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip

May 29, 1969
Guests: singer Ann Duquesnay, Percy Sledge and the Sledgehammers, The Soul Tree, and others
Host: Ellis Haizlip

unknown date
Guest: Marian Williams
Host: Wilson Pickett


February 5, 1970 (Season Premiere)
Guests: actor James Earl Jones, Lonnie Elder III, author of “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men”, and others
Host: Curtis Mayfield

February 12, 1970
Guests: singer and pianist Henry Shed, The Moments, Melba Moore, and musical group The Honey Cone
Host: Curtis Mayfield

February 19, 1970
Guests: King Curtis & the Kingpins, singer Eddie Floyd, blues performer B.B. King, and animator Tee Collins
Host: Curtis Mayfield

February 26, 1970
Guests: The Unifics, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Roberta Flack, Gale Sayers of the Chicago Bears, and other guests
Host: Jerry Butler

March 5, 1970
Guests: Billy Butler & the Infinity, Vivian Reed, Archie Bell & the Drells, and Muhammad Ali
Host: Jerry Butler

March 12, 1970
Guests: LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) and The Pharoah Sanders Ensemble

March 19, 1970
Guests: Clarence Carter, Candi Staton, Arthur Conley, and author Vertamae Grosvenor
Host: Wilson Pickett

April 2, 1970
Guests: Kool and the Gang, Eddie Holman, The Emotions, Gary Byrd, King Curtis, and Tony Brown, chairman of the newly-formed National Association of Black Media Producers
Host: Joe Tex

April 9, 1970
Guests: Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and Marion Williams
Host: Ellis Haizlip

April 16, 1970
Guests: Gloria O. Smith (Miss Black America), The Five Stairsteps, The Delfonics, and Carla Thomas
Host: Hal Jackson

April 23, 1970
Guests: South African singer Letta Mbulu, Ronnie Dyson, Tyrone Davis, and cartoonist Brumsic Brandon
Host: Len Chandler

April 30, 1970
Guests: The Sweet Inspirations, poet Gylan Kain, magician Frank Brents, and others
Host: Len Chandler

May 7, 1970
Guests: Arthur Prysock, musical duo Mel and Tim, composer Carman Moore, opera singer Laura Mann, King Curtis & the Kingpins
Host: Maxine Brown

May 14, 1970
Guests: singer Ruby Andrews, singer Donnie Hathaway and others
Host: Jerry Butler

May 21, 1970
Special program in observation of Pan-African Solidarity week, with “The Ritual” by The National Black Theater, led by founder and actress Barbara Ann Teer

May 28, 1970
Guests: vocal group The Manhattans, blues singer Little Milton, actress Novella Nelson of “Purlie”, and others
Host: Jerry Butler

June 4, 1970
Guests: Holly Maxwell, Sonia Sanchez, Joe Lee Wilson and Timothy Person*
Host: Jerry Butler

June 11, 1970
Guests: Kim Weston, Isaac Douglas & the Isaac Douglas Singers, Bobby Hebb, and others
Host: Ellis Haizlip

June 18, 1970
Guests: Cissy Houston, the Herbie Hancock Sextet, Nikki Giovanni, Larry Neal, and King Curtis & the Kingpins
Host: Ellis Haizlip


January 7, 1971 (Premiere of 4th Season)
“Salute to Black Women”
Guests: Carmen de Lavallade, Carolyn Franklin, Nikki Giovanni, Margaret Harris, Novella Nelson, and others

January 14, 1971
Guests: actor Scoey Mitchell, The Sweet Inspirations, and The Moments

January 21, 1971
Guests: The Black Dance Union, Ronnie Dyson and others
Host: Ellis Haizlip

January 28, 1971
Guests: Leon Thomas, Vivian Reed, Don L. Lee and Louise Meriwether

February 4, 1971
Guests: The Staple Singers, the Three Degrees, Willie Feaster and the Mighty Magnificents, and Presto the Great
Host: Hal Jackson

February 11, 1971
Guests: Jimmy Owens, Esther Phillips and Andrew Hill
Host: Ed Williams

February 18, 1971
Guests: The NYC Community Choir

February 25, 1971
Guests: Thelma Houston, Jayne Cortez and the New York Bass Violin Choir

March 4, 1971
Guest: Keorapetse Kgositsile
Host: South African expatriate singer Letta Mbulu

March 11, 1971
This show centered around troubles in Cairo, Illinois. Rev. James Koen, activist and leader, was the key guest.
Host: Alonzo Brown, Jr., one of the show’s writers.

March 25, 1971
Guests: The Intruders, The Ebonys, Billy Paul and Dee Dee Sharp
Host: Ed Williams

April 1, 1971
Guests: Kool and the Gang, the Voices of East Harlem, and poet Mae Jackson

April 8, 1971
Guests: Junior Walker and the All Stars, Lea Roberts, and the DuPonts
Host: Ellis Haizlip

April 15, 1971
Guests: Novella Nelson and Joe Simone*
Host: Clayton Riley

April 22, 1971
Guests: Buddy Miles, David Nelson and Arsenio*
Host: Vera Mae* (Vertamae Grosvenor?)

April 29, 1971
Guests: folksinger Odetta, Empress Mysikltta Fa Sennatao*, poet David Henderson

May 6, 1971
Guests: poet Victor Hernandez Cruz and veteran of struggle for black liberation Queen Mother Moore, Jazz Singer Betty Carter, and Blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon. Plus Trumpeter Joe Newman heading an all-star band.
Host: Soul! writer Alonzo Brown, Jr.

May 13, 1971
Guests: King Curtis & the Kingpins, Valerie Simpson, Nick Ashford, and Roy Haynes & the Hip Ensemble

Host: Ellis Haizlip

May 20, 1971 (repeated on February 23, 1972)
Guests: Betty Shabazz (widow of Malcolm X), music ensemble Umoja, and a quartet of jazz and blues pianists
Host: Ellis Haizlip

May 27, 1971
Guest: The Reverend Louis Farrakhan, National Spokesman for the Nation of Islam
Host: Ellis Haizlip

June 3, 1971
Guests: Rufus Thomas, Jimmy Scott, Ida Lewis*
Host: Carla Thomas

June 10, 1971
Guests: guitarist Richie Havens, the original cast from all-black musical “Sambo,” and poet Mari Evans
Host: Ellis Haizlip

October 6, 1971 (to be posted)
Guests: the George Faison Universal Dance Experience, and poets Imamu Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) and Mae Jackson

October 13, 1971
Guests: jazz pianist Herbie Hancock and his sextet, and Felipe Luciano, one of the Original Last Poets

October 20, 1971
Guests: LaBelle, Mrs. Georgia Jackson (mother of slain Soledad Brother George Jackson), and group Mandrill
Host: Ellis Haizlip

October 27, 1971
An “experience” from the island of Puerto Rico, taped on location. The program is co-produced by actress/dancer Carla Pinza and singer Carlos Cabiya.

Soul episode#46 (shot October 13, 1971–airdate unclear) (to be posted)
In a departure from the series’ usual format, this program is devoted entirely to a film titled “Epitaph,” the story of a Black youth whose life is ended by heroin. It was written by a 26-year-old Black filmmaker, Richard Mason, who died of an overdose two months after starting on the production. The work was completed by Samuel Holmes, a graduate of NET’s Television Training School for young people from minority groups.

November 3, 1971 (to be posted)
“The Roots of Black Protest”
Guests: This program traces the roots of Black protest in America through Frederick Douglass’ greatest orations performed by actor Arthur Burghardt, with performances by drummer Max Roach and his jazz ensemble with the J.C. White Singers.
Host: Ellis Haizlip

November 10, 1971 (to be posted)
Guests: Trumpeter Hugh Masekela and the Union of South Africa, poet Wanda Robinson.
Host: Ellis Haizlip

November 17, 1971 (watch now)
Guests: A cappella group The Persuasions, singer Bobby Hebb, bassist Ron Carter, and six-man percussion ensemble M’Boom (led by Max Roach)
Host: Ellis Haizlip

November 24, 1971 (to be posted)
Guests: Singer Irene Reid, poet Jackie Earley, and R&B group Boobie Knight and the Soulciety.

December 1, 1971
Guests: Wilson Pickett and actor Al Freeman, Jr.

December 8, 1971 (to be posted)
Guests: Melvin Van Peebles and the cast of  “Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death,” and Kathleen Cleaver, wife of exiled Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver.
Host: Ellis Haizlip

December 15, 1971
Guest: author James Baldwin, Part I
Host: Nikki Giovanni

December 22, 1971
Guest: author James Baldwin, Part II
Host: Nikki Giovanni

December 29, 1971 (to be posted)
Guests: Singer Bill Withers, poet Mae Jackson, and the McCoy Tyner Quartet
Host: Ellis Haizlip


January 5, 1972 (to be posted)
Guests: Muhammad Ali, singer Miriam Makeba, and vocal gorup the Delfonics
Host: Nikki Giovanni

January 12, 1972
Guests: Jerry Butler, Peaches, Anna Horsford, and dentist Dr. Stanley Nelson

January 19, 1972 (to be posted)
Guests: Lynn Brown (wife of Black activist H. Rap Brown); gospel group the Shirley Caesar Singers, and musical group The Main Ingredient
Host: Ellis Haizlip

January 26, 1972 (to be posted)
‘The Blue Note Show’
Guests: Keyboardist Horace Silver with vocalists Andy and Salome Bey, trumpeter Lee Morgan, flutist Bobbi Humphrey
Host: Ellis Haizlip

February 2, 1972
Guests: Actor/singer Ronnie Dyson, singer Cissy Houston and poets China Clark and Quincy Troupe

February 9, 1972 (to be posted)
Guests: Gladys Knight and the Pips, and poets Carolyn Rodgers and Norman Jordan

February 16, 1972
Guests: Singer Al Green, author Vertamae Grosvenor, the Isaac Douglas Singers, writer Alice Childress, and poet Camille Yarbrough

February 23, 1972
Guests: Betty Shabazz, widow of Malcolm X, music ensemble Umoja, and a quartet of jazz and blues pianists
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 1, 1972 (watch now)
“The Young Peoples Show”
Guests: child keyboard prodigy Lucky Peterson, singing groups Black Ivory and Jimmy Briscoe and the Little Beavers, poets Michael Goode and Vanessa Howard, and students and teachers from Newark’s Chad School.
Host: Loretta Green

March 8, 1972 (to be posted)
Guests: Singer Merry Clayton and the Reverend Jesse Jackson
Host: Ellis Haizlip

March 15, 1972
Guests: Author Chester Himes, actor Al Freeman Jr., and The Dells
Hosts: Ellis Haizlip and Nikki Giovanni

March 22, 1972
Guests: Actors Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, and Broadway star Novella Nelson

March 29, 1972
Guests: Actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and composer-saxophonist Lucky Thompson and an eight-piece jazz ensemble

October 4, 1972 (watch now)
Guests: Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk & the Vibration Society
Host: Ellis Haizlip

October 11, 1972 (watch now)
Guests: Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson

October 18, 1972 (to be posted)
(compilation show of material from the previous year)
Guests: Jackie Earley, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Anna Horsford, the George Faison Universal Dance Experience, Letta Mbulu, Lee Morgan, Al Green, and Gladys Knight and the Pips

October 25, 1972
Guest: Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan
Host: Ellis Haizlip.

November 1, 1972
Guests: New Birth, Nightlighters, and Moonglows.
Host: Gerry Bledsoe

November 8, 1972 (to be posted)
“Baraka the Artist”
Guest: poet Amiri Baraka
Host: Ellis Haizlip

November 15, 1972
Shades of Soul, Part I
Guests: Latin musicians Tito Puente and Willie Colon accompanied by their orchestras
Host: Felipe Luciano

November 22, 1972 (to be posted)
“Shades of Soul, Part II”
Guests: Trio LaBelle and musician Mongo Santamaria
Host: Ellis Haizlip

November 29, 1972 (to be posted)
Guest: Actor Ron O’Neal, and musicians Zulema and Black Heart
Host: Ellis Haizlip

December 6, 1972 (to be posted)
Guest: Carmen McRae
Host: Ellis Haizlip

December 13, 1972 (to be posted)
Guests: Actress Cicely Tyson and musical acts Taj Mahal and Exuma

December 20, 1972
Guests: Stevie Wonder and Wonderlove

December 27, 1972
Guests: Poet Nikki Giovanni and the NYC Community Chorus


January 3, 1973
Guest: an evening with singer Al Green
Host: Ellis Haizlip

January 10, 1973 (watch now)
Guests: Tony Award-winning singer Linda Hopkins & the Soul Quintet, and musical group Earth, Wind & Fire
Hosts: Gerry Bledsoe and Ellis Haizlip

January 17, 1973 (to be posted)
Guests: The Spinners and the Jimmy Castor Bunch

February 7, 1973 (to be posted)
Guest: Stokely Carmichael

February 14, 1973
Guest: singer Esther Phillips, and a performance of “The Johnson Girls,” which centers around six young Southern ladies.

February 21, 1973 (to be posted)
Guests: vocal group Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, singer Esther Marrow, and Encore magazine editor Ida Lewis

February 28, 1973
Guest: performer/composer/keyboard artist Billy Preston and his musical group.

March 7, 1973 (the last episode) (to be posted)
Soul! staff: Ellis Haizlip, Alonzo Brown Jr., Anna Horsford, Sherri Santifer, Loretta Green and Leslie Demus read poetry – and letters from viewers throughout the country, and share clips of LaBelle (from the first episode of Soul!), and King Curtis (musical director of Soul!, who passed away during the show’s run).
Host: Ellis Haizlip

Current Status of Soul! Episodes:

We will be digitizing as many of these episodes as we can, posting them to this site. However, a number of the shows on this list currently have the status of “lost.” We’re hoping that tapes of some of them will surface as the result of this endeavor of putting the show online. If you have tapes of any of these episodes, let us know.

(The information within this section was gathered by archivist Winter Shanck from old 13/WNET/NET Program Guides, WNDT and WNET Annual Reports, and The New York Times TV Listings.)

* unconfirmed guest or affiliation

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