BET has enlisted the help of some of your faves for their new series American Soul which is inspired by the untold rise of the legendary music and dance program Soul Train.
The series, created by writers Devon Greggory and Jonathan Prince, is a scripted drama which blends fictional and real-life characters and moments to bring to life the untold story of the first nationally-syndicated Black music show and what happened when the music stopped.
Set in the early 70’s, the glamorous drama will be filled with music, dance, fashion and glamour. In addition to series regulars: Sinqua Walls, Kelly Price, Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, and Jelani Winston the series will also feature tons of cameos by special guest stars.
Bobby Brown will play Rufus Thomas, who was best known for the classic soul song “Do the Funky Chicken”; Michelle Williams will portray the legendary Diana Ross; K. Michelle will play R&B singer Martha Reeves of Martha and the Vandellas; and Kelly Rowland appears as Gladys Knight in a multi-episode arc.
“Playing Gladys on this series, one, is an honor because she has been in the game for so long,” Rowland shared in a recent interview with Ebony.
“She still has so much grace, so much class, so much love for music. She still sings like she just started yesterday … she was the first artist to perform on Soul Train.”
The music veteran says she will be singing three classics, “Friendship Train,” “Neither One of Us” and “Midnight Train to Georgia,” but admitted she found it tricky to perfect Knight’s signature raspy tone.
“I’m looking at her hands and even the way she moves her mouth when she sings, and I have literally tried to get her rasp as much as I could. I only have a little, but I have screamed outside in a field, I have done this to try to get her raspy voice, I have downed a shot of whiskey to get her voice, it didn’t work,” Rowland said.
American Soul is set to premiere with back-to-back episodes on February 5, on BET in the U.S.,before rolling out globally across BET International’s linear channels in the UK, France, South Africa and South Korea, beginning February 7.