Soul of a Nation, on ABC, Tuesdays at 10PM
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streaming sites: Hulu
A 2021 6-part documentary series about the Black experience in America. Each episode has a different host and guests and interviewers, and covers different topics. Also, each episode has a panel discussion with different guests, called "In the Kitchen", hosted by Sunny Hostin, which includes the question "What was the moment you knew you were Black?", as well as other topics.
Episode 1: Reckonings
The first episode was hosted by Sterling K. Brown. Topics included the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol, from the perspective of a Black police officer who was one of the defenders of the building; the promise and failure to deliver reparations for slavery, as well as one town, Evanston, Illinois, which is providing reparations; Black representation in movies over the decades; plus an interview with and performance of the song "Never Break" by John Legend. This week's topic on "In the Kitchen" was about Black patriotism.
Episode 2: Next
The second episode was hosted by Marsai Martin. This week's topic on "In the Kitchen" was Black Twitter. Other topics this week included forced breeding among slaves, with a focus on Charles McGruder; Afrofuturism in both the arts and real life; the influence of Black artists on TikTok; sneaker culture; and an interview with H.E.R., who performed her song "Fight for You" from Judas and the Black Messiah.
Episode 3: Faith
The episode begins with host BeBe Winans singing Lift Every Voice and Sing, known as the Black national anthem. Topics covered in this episode include forgiveness, with a focus on murderer Dylann Roof and his victims, as well as the murder of Botham Jean. There is also much discussion of the Black church in America, and its role with regard to social justice (and how it differs from non-religions movements such as Black Lives Matter). There are also interviews with two different Black Christian women, one who is anti-abortion and one who is pro-choice. The topic on "In the Kitchen" is the difference between hope and faith. (The panel includes a Muslim, a Christian, and an agnostic.) There's a segment on Nick Cannon about anti-Semitic remarks he made on a podcast, and his subsequent search for education and atonement. The episode ends with Anthony Hamilton singing "Still".
Episode 4: Black Joy
The episode begins with a recitation by Matthew A. Cherry about Hair Love. The episode is hosted by Taraji P. Henson. There's an interview with Black/Korean comedian Michael Yo, who discusses the Covid-19 pandemic and his own experience with the disease, as well as experiences with both Black and Asian discrimination. There is discussion of various Black comedians and singers and sketch comedy shows. There's an interview with actor and singer Cynthia Erivo, who later performs her song "Stand Up." This week's "In the Kitchen" features two Black women comedians. The episode concludes with a segment about Black joy in its many forms.
Episode 5: Shut Up And...
The episode is hosted by Jemele Hill. There's a segment on the history of athletes standing up for social justice, including the Black Lives Matter movement. There's an interview with Renee Montgomery, who left the WNBA to focus on social justice. And an interview with gymnasts Margzetta Frazier and Nia Dennis, who incorporate hip-hop into their floor routines. In the Kitchen features Black sports journalists in a segment called "The Only One in the Room". There's a segment on Black representation in sports movies. The episode concludes with Common performing his new song "Get It Right".
Episode 6: Reconstruction
The episode opens with a monologue called "Deconstruction" by Jeneé Osterheldt. The episode is hosted by Michael K. Williams. There's a segment about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, the many people who were killed, the enormous economic loss to people of color in the Greenwood district, and how it was all kept secret for decades after it happened. The piece also mentions a project called Greenwood Rising. Then there was an interview with Andra Day about her movie The United States vs. Billie Holiday. There's a segment about the nature of the criminal justice system in the U.S., and the death penalty, which is described as a new form of lynching. In the Kitchen's topic is "Are we in a new Reconstruction?" The episode concludes with Andra Day performing "Tigress & Tweed".