- Posted October 21, 2012 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What are you watching?
Remembering the TV show Soul! via the Big Screen: The Mr. Soul Movie
It’s all or Nothing: The Mr. Soul Movie’s Soon to be Last 48 hours on Kickstarter!
Film projects that use to never see the light of day before, now have a chance to be seen because of Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com). The communal fundraising source describes itself as “a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative projects that are brought to life through the direct support of others.” That direct support comes from pledges in exchange for benefits that can range from a mere thank-you to an associated producer credit depending upon how much money you agree to kick in for the potential reward. But Kickstarter has a kicker, a plot twist, if you will. It’s an all or nothing proposition. You raise 100% of what you are looking for or you get nothing, even if you have raised 98.9% of your goal.
Enter, stage left: The Mr. Soul movie project (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mrsoul/mr-soul-the-movie)
Unless you were around to catch Channel 13 in New York, a PBS station, before 1973, you probably never saw Soul! on television. (http://www.thirteen.org/soul/#.UIRarMVTx8E). As the Mr. Soul Kickstarter project creators advise: “Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL!” The affable and openly homosexual host of Soul! was Ellis Haizlip aka Mr. Soul. Being Gay got him kicked out of his immediate family’s house. Fortunately for him, his cousin's family were more than willing to take him in. Ellis’ variety talk show hosted many of the quintessential African American entertainers, politicos and activists known today: Earth, Wind & Fire, Arsenio Hall, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou, Al Green, Ashford & Simpson, to name a few.
On air from 1968 to 1973, Soul! was groundbreaking in merely the fact that it showed black people in a favorable light on television. Before then, the positive images of black people were minimal to non-existence. Soul! offered a “first glimpse of black culture, music, politics and community.” The Mr. Soul! movie documentary will offer “a behind-the-scenes look at this revolutionary program, from its initial conception to its final broadcast, including the very public battle to keep it on the air despite a shifting political landscape.” The raised funds will be used for additional interview and rights clearance of the archival footage and music. But none of that will happen or at a minimum will be delayed, if the Kickstarter funding objective is not met. As they say, “Power to the People”, and it’s the people who can play a role in bringing this project to the silver screen and beyond.