american soul bet recap episode 5 season 1

'American Soul' Episode 5 Recap: Everybody’s Shook

An earthquake hits L.A. and the aftershocks reverberate through all the characters' lives.

We’re halfway through the first season of American Soul, and episode 5 was a shakeup. On the Soul Train set, the Soul Train Gang are tired of being paid in two-piece chicken combos, and are on strike, disrupting taping with chants of “Don is a con.” We know by now that TV Don (and possibly Don in real life) has a very short fuse, and doesn’t tolerate people jeopardizing his dream. So, he punches the organizer the dancers secured for help.  After Tessa and Brooks convince him that it would probably be cheaper in the long run and less headache to negotiate with the Gang, Don agrees to a sit down in which the organizer throws the word “picayune” at him, then proceeds to give him the definition. We also know that TV Don (and possibly Don in real life) doesn’t like anyone assuming he’s less intelligent or educated than they are (as evidenced by his obsession with solving an ivy league riddle in last week's episode). So, he punches dude in the face again. As soon as roads are clear from the quake, Don goes to jail. Period.

Don’s personal life is headed for an earthquake of its own. In episode 4, Motown’s Ilsa Dejarnette (Shannon Kane) told Don that to get in bed with the label, he needed to impress her. Apparently, she meant that literally. Don and Ilsa are canoodling all up in her house, sharing closet space, Don’s lamping on her bed in satin pajamas talking to his Deloris (Perri Camper) and faking bad phone connections while Ilsa stands in the doorway. Isla strikes us as a woman used to getting what she wants, and the moment  Don chooses his family over her, things will likely go left very quickly. For now, all’s gravy. Ilsa’s on board for Motown to partner with Don on a Soul Train bus tour - for a significant percentage of the take. Sure hope Don remembers that he also agreed to Gerald getting a percentage of Soul Train’s profits.

JT’s life has never been one of stability, but he’s on shakier ground than usual. Simone discovers he’s been keeping his family’s eviction a secret just as the quake hits, and experiences her first unedited view of JT’s reality: days in the supply room at the diner, nights in a makeshift living area inside an abandoned garage, and occasionally having to shoot his own mother up to make sure she doesn’t overdose. Simone’s devotion, fortunately, is unwavering. She promises she’s not going anywhere.

Brianne Clarke (Kelly Price) is still trying to find her footing after the tragic loss of her husband and fighting the Department of Veterans Affairs for her death benefits check. Her world – and the family’s – is further upended when Nate Barker (Shannon Wallace) the young (and fine – lawd) soldier Joseph saved right before he left his post shows up at the house looking for her husband. During the quake, he’s a help and protector, fixing the radio for access to the news and beating up attempted looters. Brianne insists he crash in the garage, but what this will mean in the long run is a mystery. In the middle of the night, Nate, armed and in dress uniform, salutes a ghost Joseph (?) promising to protect the family. Is he a blessing or a PTSD-suffering danger?

Kendall arriving home to find a stranger in his house is the last in a long day of blows. First, he sings his heart out for Martha Reeves (K. Michelle) and passes her Encore’s music  - an 8-track demo-tape, for extra era realness. She praises him at the time – even dry-snitches to Don, “Did you know he can sing?” – but later a stagehand brings the tape back to Kendall after finding it in the green room trash. Then, Kendall makes an in-the-moment move on Flo, only for her to hit him with “I like you, but…,” leaving him embarrassed and dejected. Finally, there’s some unknown man sitting at his newly widowed mama’s table, and when  Kendall tries to stand up to her about it, she makes it clear that his new “man of the house” role was just for play. She has the last word. Kendall definitely caught some bruises in this quake.

On the flip side, Tessa emerges from the chaos with a professional win and some personal clarity, but it might test the fault lines in her marriage. She finds a solution for the Soul Train Gang that won’t cost Don, getting the dancers back to work and earning a pat on the back from Don. After a falling stage light barely misses her in the studio, Tess decides that life is short and she wants to pursue her dance career again. She and Patrick (Phillip Mullings, Jr.) were just excited that she was possibly pregnant in episode 4 – Patrick even started decorating! He’s unsurprisingly unhappy about her shift in life focus.

What this episode got right: American Soul again did a spot-on job recreating the Martha and the Vandellas Soul Train performance.

What it could have done without: Brooks. And we’ll probably say that again before the season is over.

What we absolutely don’t believe: That a newly single mother would let a stranger stay in her garage just because he had a tenuous connection – at best – to her husband. Kendall had a point.

What we have a question about: Is Jerry ok? Do we need to take up an offering? 13 heart attacks in concerning.

The celebrity cameos have become a highlight of American Soul. It’s a great vehicle for our entertainers to showcase a different side of their talents and personality. Wayne Brady is on deck next episode as Little Richard, and we're ready to laugh. Sinqua Walls is killing it as Don Cornelius. We’re questioning Don's choices, motives, and tactics, but that’s a good thing.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Mike Coppola

The Cast Of 'SHAFT' Talk Family Traditions, Power And The Film's Legacy

Back in 1971, Richard Roundtree became the face of the legendary crime/blaxploitation film SHAFT. His influence in the role paved the way for a new generation of black detectives filled with a gluttonous amount of swag, clever one-liners, and action-packed scenes. Samuel L. Jackson followed suit in the franchise’s 2000 installment as he took over the streets of Uptown Manhattan and Harlem filling in for Roundtree’s original character.

Fast forward to 2019, and SHAFT’s legacy has risen to higher heights, incorporating Roundtree and Jackson together with an extension of their detective prowess. Director Tim Story created a familial driven movie centered around three different generations of SHAFT men. Roundtree plays the grandfather; Jackson plays the dad—and Jessie T. Usher plays the son. All three embark on a mission that’s laced with dirty politics, Islamophobia, and highflying action in efforts to solve a seemingly homicidal death.

The dynamics between all three are hilarious and dotted with lessons learned from past paternal influences. On a recent sunny Friday afternoon at Harlem's Red Rooster, the trio shared some of the traditions and virtues the paternal figures in real life have taught them. Most of the influence passed down to them was centered on working hard.

“People say to me, ‘Why do you work so much?’” Jackson said. “Well, all the grown people went to work every day when I got up. I figured that’s what we’re supposed to be doing—get up, pay a bill, and take care of everything that’s supposed to be taken care of.”

“For my family, it was cleanliness and masculinity,” Usher added. “The guys in my family were always well put together, very responsible especially my dad.”

In spite of the SHAFT men's power, the film's story wouldn’t be what it is without Regina Hall and Alexandra Shipp’s characters. They both play strong women caught in the middle of the mayhem created by the men they care about. Both are conscious of the power they exhibit as black women off and on screen, yet are aware of the dichotomy of how that strength is perceived in the world.

“It’s very interesting because I think a lot of times as powerful black women we are seen as angry black women,” Shipp says. “So it’s hard to have that voice and that opinion because a lot of times when we voice it; it becomes a negative rather than a positive. In order to hold that power, it has to be poised. It has to be with grace, I think there is strength in a strong but graceful black woman.”

“People have an idea of what strength is and how you do it and sometimes it’s the subtleties,” Regina adds. “Sometimes our influence is so powerful and it doesn’t always have to be loud I think a lot of times how we navigate is with conviction and patience.”

VIBE chatted with the cast of SHAFT about holding power, their red flags when it comes to dating, and why the SHAFT legacy continues to live on. Watch the interviews below.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Birdman and Benny Boom To Produce Indie Nigerian Film 'Tazmanian Devil'

Benny Boom's extension into feature films continues with help from the Cash Money honcho Bryan ‘Birdman’ Williams with the two producing Nigerian drama, Tazmanian Devil. 

According to Deadline, the project comes from Solomon Onita, Jr. The budding filmmaker previously submitted a pitch for his film to BET's ProjectCre8 Filmmaking Contest. While it didn't take the winning prize, the film will still see the light of day thanks to financial funding by Boom’s Groundwurk Studios and Williams’ Cash Money Films. Boom previously directed All Eyez On Me and episodes of Empire, Black Lighting and Tales.

The indie film centers on a young man who moves to America from Nigeria with his estranged father but the two are at odds over the student's decision to join a college fraternity. The coming of age drama will highlight the cultural differences between black lives and how fraternities are seen from unique perspectives.

Birdman expressed his excitement over the film and working with longtime collaborator Boom. "Benny and I have often discussed making films together and this project presented us with the perfect opportunity to produce a great movie," he said. The duo has worked together on other projects circling music dating back to the early 2000s, they have also collaborated on music videos for Hot Boyz, Juvenile, Big Tymers, Lil Wayne; recently Jacquees, Nicki Minaj and Drake.

"I have been creating visuals for Cash Money artists for decades and I am excited about this next phase of our collaboration," says Boom.

Groundbreaking actors/actress Abraham Attah (Beats of No Nation), Adepero Oduye (When They See Us), Ntare Gunna Mbaho Mwine (The Chi) and Kwesi Boakye (Claws) are cast to star in the film.

Birdman's first film was the documentary entitled, Before Anythang: The Cash Money Story. The film was produced out of Cash Money Film's division of Cash Money Records.

Onita Jr. also has produced two short films, Two Hand Touch (2017) and Witch Hunt (2016). He was the writer for the short film Joy (2015).

Tazmanian Devil is currently in post-production with no official release date.

Continue Reading
Grace Bukunmi

Kid Cudi Lands Role In ‘Bill & Ted Face The Music’

Kid Cudi has joined the cast of Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the film series starring Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter. Details about the Grammy winning rapper’s role have yet to be unveiled.

Cudi is building a solid list of acting roles which include HBO’s How to Make it In America, The Cleveland Show, Need for Speed, Entourage, Brooklyn 99, and the comedy, Drunk Parents starring  Salma Hayek and Alec Baldwin.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Bill & Ted Face the Music is centered around time traveling duo, Bill and Ted, as they head out on a mission to “save life as we know it” and bring universal harmony.

The first film in the series, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, was released in 1989. The sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey debuted in 1991.

Reeves and Winter announced the film threequel in March, with a video message from the Hollywood Bowl thanking fans for spearheading the project. “It is all because of you guys so we owe you a huge debt of gratitude,” said Reeves.

Bill & Ted: Face the Music is slated to hit theaters on Aug. 21, 2020.

Continue Reading

Top Stories