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DVD Release: The Best of 'Soul Train' [VIDEO]

American Bandstand may have been first to air, but once it premiered Soul Train soon became the indisputable American cultural institution of soul music. And no disrespect to Dick Clark, but now that the Best of Soul Train has finally arrived on DVD (for the show’s 40th anniversary) this is the televised music collection to own.

What stands out most prominently when watching any of the three discs in this package is that the glory years of R&B and Soul that Soul Train highlighted, pre-MTV era (1971-1980), was not just your parents’ music. Nor was it just the infectious soundtrack of a generation. These sounds actually provided the blueprint and foundation for all popular black music today. And Soul Train as a series was indeed as creator and original host Don Cornelius put it, “the hippest trip in America."

And now finally, after getting morsels of classic Soul Train snippets in movies over the years ( Spike Lee's Crooklyn) and in documentaries (most recently VH1's Soul TrainThe Hippest Trip in America), the eight-hour Best of Soul Train DVD collection, in stores now, features 50 performances from some of the genre's most legendary artists including Aretha Franklin, Curtis MayfieldThe O'Jays, Marvin Gaye, Stevie WonderSly & The Family Stone and The Jackson Five.

Also featured on these discs are the eternally funkiest movers on the planet—the Soul Train Dancers and the Soul Train Line, a tradition still upheld at any family or professional gathering coast to coast featuring music. [And Soul Train Dancer trivia alert: see if you can spot ex-Shalimar member Jody Watley, Breakin's Aldolfo 'Shabba Doo' Quinones and actor Darnell Williams (All My Children's Jesse Hubbard) in this volume.] Even the advertisements in this collection are classic; vintage commercials from Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen products are here and yes, that hilarious spot with Frederick Douglass urging a young blood to get his afro in check is also included.  Plus there is three hours of bonus interview footage with Cornelius, Watley, Smokey Robinson and more.

A highlight in the parade of artists featured in this collection is the live performance (no lip sync people) of hip hop's glory years (1987-1991) most sampled artist, Soul Brother #1, The Godfather of Soul himself, Mr. James Brown. JB treated the Soul Train audience to a mini-concert of his greatest hits, including Get On the Good Foot, Try Me, Get Up I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine. And during the final jam, (featured in the classic clip below) Brown made Super Bad so funky that even Soul Train dancer Damita Jo Freeman couldn’t stay off the stage. (It's the Godfather's showcase but Ms. Freeman's definitely stole some of his show) So trust me when I say this DVD is a keeper for your home collection, you dig? Love, peace and soul forever. —Ronke Idowu Reeves

Clip courtesy of Soul Train Holdings:

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Trailer Released For Ava DuVernay's Central Park Five Flick, 'When They See Us'

Ava DuVernay's last work of cinematic excellence is coming pretty quickly. The writer and director's forthcoming film When They See Us has officially released the trailer, and in the 30th anniversary of the very event it memorializes. The Netflix film, which takes a look at the true story of the Central Park Five—five black teenaged boys who were falsely convicted for the April 19, 1989 rape of a white female jogger—is set to hit the streaming platform on May 31.

The four-part series will follow the lives of Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Jr., Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise over the course of 25 years, allowing viewers to follow their perspectives from accusation to conviction to exoneration to their eventual settlement in 2014.

 

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On this exact day 30 years ago, a woman was raped in Central Park. Five black + brown boys were framed for her rape. The story you know is the lie that police, prosecutors and Donald Trump told you. WHEN THEY SEE US is the story of the boys from their eyes and their hearts. May 31 on @Netflix.

A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava) on Apr 19, 2019 at 9:25am PDT

When They See Us boasts a laundry list of talented stars, including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Felicity Huffman, Niecy Nash, Blair Underwood, Famke Janssen, Aurora Perrineau, William Sadler, Jharrel Jerome, Christopher Jackson, Joshua Jackson, Omar J. Dorsey, Adepero Oduye, Jovan Adepo, Aunjanue Ellis, Storm Reid, Dascha Polanco, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares, Kylie Bunbury, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Justin Cunningham, Ethan Herisse, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, and Marquis Rodriguez.

Take a look at the trailer up top.

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Wendy Williams' Estranged Husband Reportedly Fired As Executive Producer From Talk Show

Wendy Williams’ estranged husband, Kevin Hunter, was reportedly fired as an executive producer on her eponymous talk show, Deadline reports. The news follows a tumultuous time for the host, who allegedly filed for divorce due to Hunter’s reported infidelity.

Since 2011, Hunter served as an executive producer of The Wendy Williams Show. Nationally syndicated and distributed by Debmar-Mercury, the company issued a statement on Hunter’s departure. “Kevin Hunter is no longer an Executive Producer on The Wendy Williams Show. Debmar-Mercury wishes him well in his future endeavors,” a spokesperson for the company told Deadline.

Williams tearfully admitted on her show in March that she relapsed and was living in a sober house. Prior to that, she embarked on a brief hiatus from the show due to health concerns as she was recovering from a fractured shoulder. The show then took another hiatus because of her bout with Graves disease.

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Comedy Series 'Rel' Cancelled After Just One Season

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According to Variety, the Lil Rey Howery-lead show– which also starred Sinbad and Jess Hilarious– continued to plummet in ratings.

"Rel‘s (now series) finale, which aired Jan. 13, delivered 2.8 million viewers and a 1.1 in the demo — the series’ best showing since its premiere — but that largely was attributable to the evening’s lead-in: the hugely watched Eagles/Saints NFC divisional playoff," the report reads.

The series was inspired largely in-part to Howery's real life experiences, who lived by the credo "always believe in yourself and great things will come." Shenanigans throughout the series ensue when he discovers his wife is having an affair with his barber.

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The series was put in the spotlight when its co-creator and executive producer Kevin Barnett suddenly passed away in January during a trip to Mexico. Barnett's death was caused by pancreatitis complications. He was only 32 years old.

 

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I want to thank all the loyal 2 million plus people that tuned in every week to my show... I’m so proud of what we did and it was a dream come true... I got a chance to not only create a show based off my material and some real life events I got to work and create magic with my friends... God is so good and I’m truly blessed... Thanks again for the huge opportunity and it’s on to the next one... I learned a lot and it’s still a huge accomplishment for me to pull this off... I wanted to make a dramatic comedy with heart and I did that... I know I made you proud Mom!!!!!! #REL

A post shared by Lil Rel Howery (@comedianlilrel) on Apr 17, 2019 at 8:51pm PDT

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