" "AMERICAN SOUL" AIRS FEB. 5 AT 9 P.M. (ET/PT) ON BET.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs,
“And you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!"
Anyone who watched the TV show “Soul Train” knew those famous words from the show’s ultra-cool host, Mr. Don Cornelius.”
I’m thrilled beyond belief that BET is airing, “American Soul,” a 10-episode series premiering Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) that’s inspired by the life and times of “Soul Train” creator and host Don Cornelius.
Cornelius died February 1, 2012 allegedly from suicide. He was 75 years old.
The legendary entertainer’s influence on black culture and music was astronomical. He was the first black owner of a nationally syndicated television franchise.
“Soul Train” was without a doubt the “hippest trip in America.”
And now, the story of “Soul Train” is finally coming to BET. This network has done a phenomenal job bringing the “Bobby Brown Story” and New Edition Story” to life on screen, so I’m confident, “American Soul” will be equally as compelling and just as great as those dramas.
“American Soul” is executive produced by Cornelius' son, Tony Cornelius and stars actor Sinqua Walls (“The Breaks”) as Cornelius, alongside Kelly Rowland as Gladys Knight, who was instrumental in launching Soul Train to national prominence. Rowland will also record an original version of Knight's classic hit, "Midnight Train to Georgia" for the role.
Set in the 1970s, the show captures the behind the scenes of the iconic music-dance show that aired from 1970 to 2006 and chronicles the cast, crew and Cornelius rise in Hollywood.
The series is the brain child of writers Devon Greggory (“Being Mary Jane”) and Jonathan Prince (“American Dreams”).
Grammy nominated Kelly Price will play "Brianne Clarke," the extremely wise yet cautious head of the Clarke household. Brianne's children, Simone and Kendall, are rising stars in Los Angeles, but she is wary of what a life as entertainers could bring them.
Kelly Price has forged her own career path in music, when she first earned the reputation as one of the industry's most sought-after songwriters, before becoming a Grammy-nominated artist in her own right. Her first two albums, “Soul of a Woman” and “Mirror Mirror” both went platinum and launched Price to R&B prominence.
Proving versatile off the stage, Price has pivoted to the small screen as she recently recurred on Bounce's series, “Saints & Sinners.”
Kelly Rowland is a four time GrammyAward-winning singer, songwriter, actress and executive producer. A global pop star since the age of 16, Kelly grew up in the spotlight as a member of Destiny's Child, one of the best-selling groups of all time.
Rowland has blossomed into a stunning solo artist who has released four successful studio albums, which have topped music charts all over the world.
Kelly's beautiful voice and effervescent personality have also generated success in television, film and fashion. Rowland has had guest starring turns on "Girlfriends," "Empire" & "Being Mary Jane", as well as executive producing her very own docu-series, "Chasing Destiny" on BET in 2016. She also appeared as a judge for the immensely popular shows, "The X Factor" (UK 2011 and US 2013), and "The Voice Australia".
Most recently, she participated as a guest mentor on the new season of NBC's "The Voice" (US) working alongside Jennifer Hudson.
Kelly also added a new title to her name as published author with the release of her literary debut "Whoa, Baby!" which chronicles the trials and funny tribulations of being a new mother.
As previously announced, the series features a cast of multi-talented actors including Sinqua Walls (TV’s “Power,” “The Breaks”) who will play a young Don Cornelius.
Series regulars also include Jason Dirden (TV’s “Greenleaf”), Iantha Richardson (TV’s “This Is Us”), Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol, and Jelani Winston.
While everyone knows “Soul Train,” not everyone knows what happened when the music stopped. “American Soul” is the untold story of the struggle to make the dream of Soul Train come true.
Inspired by the personal trials and professional successes of a young, ambitious and troubled impresario Don Cornelius, the 70s period drama is an unflinching look at the entrepreneur, his Soul Train dancers, and musicians set against the backdrop of a cutthroat Hollywood - how they work, play, rise and fall.
The series chronicles "the hippest trip in America" and what became of one of the most prominent and groundbreaking television shows for African-American culture.
Produced by Jesse Collins Entertainment, “American Soul” is executive produced by Tony Cornelius, Jesse Collins, Jonathan Prince, Devon Greggory and with Co-Executive Producers Andy Horne and Dionne Harmon. Greggory and Prince will also pen the pilot.
For more information about “American Soul,” please visit www.BET.com/AmericanSoul.
ABOUT JESSE COLLINS ENTERTAINMENT:
Jesse Collins Entertainment (JCE) is a full service television and film production company founded by entertainment industry veteran Jesse Collins. For more than a decade, Collins has played an integral role in producing some of television's most memorable moments in music entertainment.
Collins has produced ground-breaking and award winning television programming including the BET Awards, the Grammy Awards, Soul Train Awards, BET Honors, UNCF An Evening of Stars, ABFF Awards and the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Collins was an executive producer of the hit TV series, “Real Husbands of Hollywood” starring Kevin Hart, the critically-acclaimed “The New Edition Story,” a biopic on the boy band that aired as a 3-part mini-series on BET in January 2017 and posted record ratings for the network and attracted nearly 30 million viewers.
He is also the executive producer of VH1 shows Dear Mama and Hip-Hop Squares with Ice Cube. He has appeared on the cover of Vibe magazine and has been featured in numerous publications including Ebony magazine.
Editor's Note: Don’t miss “American Soul” Feb. 5 on BET at 9 PM (ET/PT). Information used in this feature obtained from BET Network.