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The Museum of Tolerance invites you to Ring in the New Year with a Watch Party for the new film
Tuesday, December 29, 2020 at 4 PM PT
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL! From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL! guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an unfiltered, uncompromising celebration of Black literature, poetry, music, and politics.
Featuring rare live performances and interviews from:
The legendary Al Green, Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Cicely Tyson, James Baldwin, Nikki Giovanni, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Billy Preston, Bill Withers, Sonia Sanchez, Wilson Pickett, Kool & the Gang, Toni Morrison, Patti LaBelle, Roberta Flack and many more!
SOUL! was the first national show to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement.
Q & A following the screening
MELISSA HAIZLIP - Producer/Writer/Director, Mr. SOUL!
Melissa Haizlip is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York whose work responds to pressing social issues at the intersection of racial justice, social justice, activism and representation. Melissa’s feature documentary Mr. SOUL! premiered at Tribeca and screened at 50 festivals. The film’s numerous accolades include 16 Jury and Audience Awards for Best Documentary, the 2020 Critics’ Choice Award for Best First Documentary Feature, and Best Music Documentary at the 2018 International Documentary Association Awards. A graduate of Yale University, Melissa has been awarded grants for her work from the Ford Foundation JustFilms, National Endowment for the Humanities, International Documentary Association, National Endowment for the Arts, Black Public Media, Firelight Media, ITVS, Awesome Without Borders, and Puffin Foundation. In 2011 the Museum of Tolerance honored writer and activist Shirlee Taylor Haizlip, Melissa’s mother, as a Southern California Freedom’s Sister.
DOUG BLUSH - Co-Producer, Mr. SOUL!
Doug Blush has received multiple Oscar, Emmy and major festival awards for his work. His editor and producer credits include the 2018 Academy Award-winning film Icarus, HBO documentary The Music of Strangers: Yo You Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (2015), The Hunting Ground (2014), the 2013 Oscar-winning film 20 Feet From Stardom for which he also received the ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing, the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning film The Invisible War (2012), and over 100 feature and television documentary projects. He has worked as an editor on several recent Sundance documentaries including Jim: The James Foley Story, The Mars Generation, Chasing Coral, On Her Shoulders, Dark Money and King in the Wilderness. Blush is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as the American Cinema Editors (ACE).
NIKKI GIOVANNI - Poet & Activist
Nikki Giovanni is one of America’s foremost poets. Over the course of a long career Giovanni has published numerous collections of poetry—from her first self-published volume Black Feeling Black Talk (1968), to The New York Times best-seller Bicycles: Love Poems (2009)—several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection (2004). Her most recent publications include Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (2013) and, as editor, The 100 Best African American Poems (2010). A frequent lecturer and reader, Giovanni has taught at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Virginia Tech where she is a University Distinguished Professor. She appeared as a performer and a host on SOUL! in numerous episodes, including her landmark 2-hour interview with James Baldwin, which was filmed on location in London in 1971.
BLAIR UNDERWOOD - Executive Producer and Voice of Ellis Haizlip, Mr. SOUL!
Blair Underwood is an American actor, director, and producer for television, film, and stage. His honors include three NAACP Image Awards, a Grammy Award, and nominations for two Golden Globe Awards, and for a Tony Award for his starring role in the Broadway production of A Soldier’s Play. His extensive television credits include Netflix’s Original TV mini-series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madame C. J. Walker, HBO’s In Treatment, NBC’s L.A. Law, ABC’s Quantico, and numerous other series. His film work includes Krush Groove, Set It Off, Madea’s Family Reunion, Rules of Engagement, Gattaca, and I Will Follow. He has narrated documentaries including President Barack Obama: The Man and His Journey, For Love of Liberty: The Story of America's Black Patriots, and Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, which follows the trials and triumphs of Black athletes at the 1936 Olympics.
SARAH ELIZABETH LEWIS - Moderator
Sarah Elizabeth Lewis is an associate professor at Harvard University in the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Department of African and African American Studies. She is the founder of The Vision and Justice Project. Lewis has published essays on race, contemporary art, and culture, with forthcoming publications including a book on race, whiteness, and photography (Harvard University Press, 2022), Vision and Justice (Random House), an anthology on the work of Carrie Mae Weems (MIT Press, 2021), and an article focusing on the groundwork of contemporary arts in the context of Stand Your Ground Laws (Art Journal, Winter 2020). In 2019 she became the inaugural recipient of The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s Freedom Scholar Award, which honored Lewis for her body of work and its “direct positive impact on the life of African-Americans.”