James Baldwin and Nikki Giovanni on Black Liberation

Soul! or SOUL! (1967–1973) was a pioneering performance/variety television program in the late 1960s and early 1970s produced by New York City PBS affiliate, WNET. It showcased African American music, dance and literature.

Soul! was the brainchild of Ellis Haizlip, the first black producer at WNET (then WNDT), who joined the station in the mid-60s. Haizlip was approached by Christopher Lukas, the station’s white director of cultural programming, with the idea of launching an arts program for black audiences. Haizlip developed the notion of a program that would use the variety-show format (familiar from commercial fare such as The Ed Sullivan Show) to display the breadth and variety of black culture. Soul!’s mission would be not merely to entertain African American viewers, but to challenge them to ponder the possible meanings of black culture and black community at a time when African Americans were driving American social transformation.