It's Been Beautiful: Soul! and Black Power Television
Gayle Wald is Professor of English and American Studies at George Washington University. She is the author of Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Crossing the Line: Racial Passing in U.S. Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture.
More Meaningful Than a Three-Hour Lecture: Music on Soul!
The beating heart of the Soul! enterprise was the music. Like many black intellectuals of the period, Ellis Haizlip believed that music—both popular and lesser-known—could be a conduit of the new black consciousness. The show highlighted an eclectic array of musicians as a means of exploring diverse expressions of the black diaspora in the Americas. The chapter focuses particularly on episodes featuring jazz multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the all-female trio Labelle, and the orchestra led by conga drum virtuoso Mongo Santamaría. Each of these episodes exemplifies the power of black musical performance, including U.S. Latino music, to articulate resistance through sound and spectacle.