Soul of a Nation


Season 01

SPE. The Freedom to Exist

To honor and celebrate Pride Month, ABC News will have month-long coverage highlighting the LGBTQ+ community, including a one-hour primetime special from ABC News Studios’ Emmy® and GLAAD Award-winning series “Soul of a Nation” with “The Freedom to Exist with Elliot Page.” “The Freedom to Exist” will take an in-depth look at the transgender community and features a broadcast exclusive interview with Oscar-nominated actor Elliot Page, who bravely came out as transgender in 2020 and was the first openly trans man to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine. With the release of his new book, “Pageboy: A Memoir,” Page discusses his difficult journey to standing in his truth and how he hopes to champion inclusivity in Hollywood. The conversation, which includes audio excerpts from his memoir, also unpacks sexuality and gender identity.
Air Date: 06/06/2023

SPE. The New Face of Hollywood – A Soul of a Nation Presentation

ABC News’ Emmy®-Award winning “Soul of a Nation” returns with a special presentation, “The New Face of Hollywood,” in honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The one-hour primetime special delves into the rise of Asians in Hollywood, following the historic Oscars® sweep of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the blockbuster multiverse film about the struggles of a Chinese American immigrant family. “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang sits down with trailblazing star Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian woman in history to win an Oscar® for Best Actress, and Ke Huy Quan, the former child star who won Best Supporting Actor after a 20-year hiatus from acting. Chang’s intimate interviews with Yeoh and Quan detail their personal journeys, their experiences through the highs and lows of fame, the setbacks often faced by Asian actors in Hollywood, and how their triumphant Oscar wins reverberated throughout the Asian American community and beyond.
Air Date: 05/26/2023

914. Mi Gente: Groundbreakers and Changemakers

In celebration of Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month, ABC News’ Emmy-nominated “Soul of a Nation” will present the one-hour primetime special “Mi Gente: Groundbreakers and Changemakers,” spotlighting three key figures in the Hispanic and Latin American community. ABC News contributor María Elena Salinas sits down with music icon Gloria Estefan to discuss the singer and actress’s legendary and trailblazing career and how she’s now making music with her children and grandchildren, continuing her legacy in the industry. Salinas and Estefan also sit down with Estefan’s grandson as well as her daughter Emily, who talks about her experience of coming out to her family. Correspondent John Quiñones has an in-depth interview with actor Diego Luna, star of Disney+’s “Andor,” a Star Wars original series, and the first Latino to have a leading role in the Star Wars Galaxy. The actor tells Quiñones about starring in and producing the series and his rise to fame. The special will also debut an exclusive clip from “Andor.” Correspondent Stephanie Ramos explores the impact and influence of Hispanic and Latin American athletes with Major League Baseball legend and Hall of Famer David Ortiz. Ramos also follows Ortiz as he surprises a group of children in Boston, detailing his visit and the inspiration behind it.
Air Date: 09/14/2022
Media: Releases

617. Sound of Freedom – A Juneteenth Celebration

Sponsored by GEICO and hosted by country music star Jimmie Allen, “Sound of Freedom – A Juneteenth Celebration” brings together a mix of live performances and conversations with some of music’s biggest stars to highlight the contributions of Black Americans through jazz, gospel, hip-hop and more. ABC News anchor Linsey Davis sits down with GRAMMY®-winning artist Lizzo to discuss her career and the inspiration behind her chart-topping music. ABC News anchor Janai Norman explores the importance of ownership in music through conversations with GRAMMY winners Ciara, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The special also features reporting from ABC News correspondent Rachel Scott, who introduces viewers to the all-Black production teams behind major artists and groups, shedding light on the many important off-stage roles in the industry. The special includes performances by GRAMMY-winning legends Patti LaBelle, Marvin Sapp and an unforgettable finale from Jon Batiste.
Air Date: 06/17/2022
Media: Releases

609. PRIDE: To Be Seen

“Mormon No More,” an ABC News Studios docu-series, follows two married Mormon moms who fall in love and leave the faith. The series, streaming Friday, June 24 on Hulu, explores how the couple navigates telling their husbands, families, and the church, and what it’s like to co-parent their combined seven children with their ex-husbands. Their journey includes other Mormon and ex-Mormon LGBTQ+ allies who wrestle with the church’s prohibitive doctrine on same-sex relationships. Their powerful testimonies speak of shame, rejection, and ultimately hope.
Air Date: 06/09/2022
Media: Releases

202. Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising

ABC News’ groundbreaking “Soul of a Nation” returns with the special “Screen Queens Rising,” exploring how Black actresses, a historically overlooked and under-valued group in Hollywood, have in recent years begun to ascend to the top echelons of entertainment and American culture. The special examines how Black actresses of Hollywood have become power brokers and the iconic moments and roles have paved the way for them today. The special, hosted by “ABC News Live Prime” anchor Linsey Davis and ABC News senior national affairs correspondent Deborah Roberts, includes Roberts’ interview with actress Tessa Thompson and ABC News’ “GMA3: What You Need to Know” co-anchor T.J. Holmes’ interview with actress and director Halle Berry. The hour also features interviews with actresses Debbie Allen, Jackée Harry, Marla Gibbs and Regina Hall, and entertainment reporters who look back at the first milestones for Black women in Hollywood, discussing the triumphs, the obstacles and those who blazed the trail. The special includes the return of the fan-favorite “In the Kitchen” discussion moderated by “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin. “Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising” airs Thursday, Feb. 3 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
Air Date: 01/28/2022
Media: Releases

202. Soul of a Nation Presents: X / o n e r a t e d

ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation Presents: X / o n e r a t e d – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice” profiles Muhammad Abdul Aziz, a man who was wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X’s assassination. Featuring the first TV interview with Aziz since his exoneration, conducted by ABC News “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts, the special retraces Malcolm X’s shocking 1965 assassination, Aziz’s decades behind bars and on parole, and the devastating impact on Aziz’s family. “X / o n e r a t e d” features interviews with family and advocates of Aziz, including his wife Paula McLellan, son Craig Butler, daughter Edris B. Green and independent historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, as well as A. Peter Bailey, a friend and associate of Malcolm X who was at the Audubon Ballroom on the day of the assassination. The special also includes interviews with those who conducted the joint reinvestigation that ultimately led to Aziz‘s exoneration in November 2021, including Aziz’s civil rights attorneys David Shanies and Deborah Francois, Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin and former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was interviewed by ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. The special will have interviews with Shahid Johnson, Ameen Johnson and Khalil Ibn Islam, the children of the late Khalil Islam, who was also wrongfully convicted for the assassination of Malcolm X and posthumously exonerated, as well as Malcolm X’s daughter Ilyasah Shabazz. Journalists, filmmakers and activists reflect on the enduring legacy of Malcolm X and raise larger questions about how and why both the assassination and the wrongful convictions happened and why it took so long to resolve. “X / o n e r a t e d” airs Thursday, Feb. 3 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on ABC.
Air Date: 01/28/2022

917. Corazón de América - Celebrating Hispanic Culture

SOUL OF A NATION - Singer-songwriter Ozuna performs on “Soul of a Nation Presents: Corazón de América - Celebrating Hispanic Culture” airing Friday, September 17 at 8pm EDT on ABC.
Air Date: 09/17/2021
Media: Releases

108. Juneteenth: Together We Triumph

Former President Barack Obama sits down for a one-on-one interview with “Good Morning America” Co-Anchor Michael Strahan for “Juneteenth: Together We Triumph – A ‘Soul of a Nation’ Special Event” airing Friday, June 18, 2021 on ABC.
Air Date: 06/18/2021
Media: Releases

SPE. After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World

On the anniversary of George Floyd’s death and the racial reckoning that swept the country, ABC News will air a special edition of “Soul of a Nation,” which will reflect on the cataclysmic, generation-defining moment that inspired change around the world, chronicle the dramatic and epic events surrounding Floyd’s death, and spotlight where the country goes from this point forward. Award-winning daytime talk show host Tamron Hall and “GMA3: What You Need to Know” co-anchor T.J. Holmes will host this one-hour special from Minneapolis and will be joined by ABC News chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas, ABC News correspondent Janai Norman, “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts and “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin. The special will feature in-depth interviews with Floyd’s family, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, civil rights leader and founder and president of National Action Network Rev. Al Sharpton, Floyd’s pastor and Resurrection Houston Lead Pastor Patrick P.T. Ngwolo, actor Kendrick Sampson, and a performance of “Other Side” by singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc and from poet MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow Terrance Hayes. “After Floyd: The Year that Shook the World – A Soul of a Nation Special” will air on Tuesday, May 25 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.
Air Date: 05/25/2021
Media: Releases

106. Reconstruction

Actor Michael Kenneth Williams explores the hope and resilience of the Black community throughout history as the guest host. Williams, ABC News’ Linsey Davis, Sunny Hostin, Steve Osunsami, Rachel Scott and Pierre Thomas lead the hour which features an interview with and performance by singer Andra Day. The episode looks back at the Tulsa Race Massacre nearly 100 years later, features the unseen Black men who have been sentenced to death row and examines the racial reckoning in present-day America which some call “the third reconstruction.” This hour includes the following stories and conversations: • Nearly 100 years after angry mobs destroyed Tulsa, Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street,” search crews have discovered a dozen coffins in an unmarked grave and believe there could be dozens more. Osunsami takes a closer look at the push to find and identify the victims of the Tulsa Race Massacre and the controversy surrounding the efforts to render justice for those who died and their descendants. He speaks with Joi McCondichie and Kristi Williams, descendants of massacre survivors, and the piece also features Tulsa mayor G.T. Bynum. Osunsami’s reporting on the massacre is also featured in ABC Audio’s new podcast, “Soul of a Nation: Tulsa’s Buried Truth.” • Andra Day sits down with Davis for a wide-ranging conversation where they discuss “imposter syndrome,” the power of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” the roots of Day’s song “Rise Up,” and how Holiday's playfulness and joy emerged in times of great stress. Day also gives a special performance of her new song, “Tigress & Tweed.” • Thomas brings viewers the untold stories of the unseen Black men and women whose lives have been impacted by the criminal justice system after they and their loved ones were sentenced to death row. He interviews Pamela Woods, sister of Nathaniel Woods who died by lethal injection; Anthony Ray Hinton who spent decades on death row for a crime he didn’t commit and was exonerated in 2015; Callie Greer who advocated for the life of the man who was accused of murdering her child Mercury Colley; and Equal Justice Initiative Founder/Executive Director Bryan Stevenson. • Hostin moderates this week’s “In the Kitchen,” with Janaya Future Khan, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad and D. Watkins to discuss what it will take for Black people to truly gain equality. • Scott travels to Louisiana where she discovers the stories of progress among freed Black people during the Reconstruction era, drawing parallels to present day. She speaks with Dr. Robert Perry, the great-grandson of Pierre Caliste Landry, America’s first Black mayor and Brian K. Mitchell, the great-great-grandnephew of Oscar Dunn, America’s first Black lieutenant governor. • Boston Globe columnist Jeneé Osterheldt contributes a piece on the racial reckoning that took place in the past year.
Air Date: 04/06/2021
Media: Releases

105. Shut Up And...

Journalist Jemele Hill will guest host the all-new episode of “Soul of a Nation” that explores activism in sports. The hour examines the historic role sports have played in America’s racial reckoning, and the seismic shift Black athletes are provoking in this current moment. Hill, ABC News’ T.J. Holmes, Sunny Hostin, Kenneth Moton and ESPN’s Michael Wilbon lead the hour, which features interviews with WNBA player Renee Montgomery, UCLA gymnasts Nia Dennis and Margzetta Frazier, decorated Olympian Dominique Dawes and NBA players Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. Plus, Emmy, GRAMMY and Oscar award-winning rapper/actor Common gives a special first look from his upcoming new album that will be released this spring, “A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2,” with a debut performance of “Get It Right.” This episode of “Soul of a Nation” includes the following stories and conversations: • Wilbon talks to athletes across different sports for a candid discussion about the role and the risk pro athletes have taken to fight for racial justice. He sits down with National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, both future NBA Hall-of-Famers, and John Carlos, whose protest at the 1968 Olympics cost him his Olympic career. The NFL’s Michael Thomas also opens up about kneeling in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick during the 2016 season. • When Black Lives Matter protests came to Atlanta, WNBA champion and former Atlanta Dream player-turned-owner Renee Montgomery turned her energy to empowering her community, stepping away from what would have been her 12th season in the league. In a tell-all conversation with Hill, Montgomery talks about the power of protest, the role of Black women in the struggle for racial equality, the WNBA’s uniquely unwavering support of its athletes and players across the league supporting Reverend Raphael Warnock in the special Georgia Senate election to replace part-Dream owner and now former Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler who criticized the league for its support of BLM. • UCLA gymnasts Nia Dennis and Margzetta Frazier tumbled into viral sensations with their floor routines that celebrated Black excellence. They talk with Moton about how they unapologetically challenged traditional gymnastic norms, navigating their newfound fame, growing up in a white-dominated sport and how they hope to inspire a new group of young athletes. Plus, decorated Olympian Dominique Dawes, who paved the way for many Black gymnasts, also weighs in on how Dennis and Frazier are changing the sport. • Hostin moderates this week’s revealing “In the Kitchen” conversation with “Monday Night Football” and NBA reporter and E:60 host Lisa Salters, senior NBA writer for The Undefeated Marc Spears and ESPN host and college analyst/reporter Maria Taylor. • ESPN’s The Undefeated examines the crossover between sports and film and how movies have been used as a tool to make cultural and social statements about Black athletes and the Black community. Through the lens of iconic films such as “He Got Game” and “Remember the Titans,” Deon Cole, Mo’ne Davis, Wood Harris, Janaya Future Khan, Soraya McDonald, Sylvia Obell, Saweetie, Tyrod Taylor and Justin Tinsley comment on what these films have taught about race, culture and being a Black athlete in America. • To close out the show, Common performs “Get It Right” publicly for the first time from his upcoming new album, “A Beautiful Revolution Pt. 2,” coming this spring.
Air Date: 03/30/2021
Media: Releases

104. Black Joy

Award-winning actor, filmmaker and activist Taraji P. Henson guest hosts the all-new episode of “Soul of a Nation” which explores Black joy. Throughout history, Black people have used humor and music to get through hard times, making cultural or political statements while simultaneously giving others tremendous joy. This provocative episode examines comedy, film and music within the Black community and how each is a vehicle for Black joy. Henson, ABC News’ Sunny Hostin, Janai Norman and Alex Perez lead the hour which includes a spoken word performance and art by Academy Award®-winning director Matthew Cherry. The episode features a profile of and performance by actress and singer Cynthia Erivo, interviews with comedian Michael Yo and Derrick “D-Nice” Jones, and takes an in-depth look at sketch comedy throughout the years. This episode includes the following stories and conversations: • Throughout 2020, Black comedians and musical artists took the pain of the pandemic, the economic downturn and racial reckoning and delivered memorable performances. Perez takes viewers through some of these defining moments and sits down with Yo, who, after a tough battle with COVID-19 and coming close to death, has made his way back on stage to bring audiences laughter. Meanwhile, DJ D-Nice discusses how he got the country dancing during the pandemic and making joy with his “Club Quarantine.” • Norman sits down with Erivo to discuss the life and story of Aretha Franklin, previewing Erivo’s role as the icon in the upcoming National Geographic bio-series “Genius: Aretha.” Erivo also performs her hit song “Stand Up.” • From hit shows such as “The Richard Pryor Show” and “In Living Color” to the successes of today including “Key & Peele” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” ESPN’s “The Undefeated” takes an in-depth look at the trailblazing comedians of television and the shows that have launched the careers of major Black comedic talent. Viewers will hear from Deon Cole, Kim Coles, Tommy Davidson, Domonique Foxworth, David Alan Grier, Soraya McDonald, Sylvia Obell and Justin Tinsley. • Hostin moderates a provocative recurring conversation called “In the Kitchen,” where each week, a group of talkers and thinkers join her for a candid discussion on current events and the theme of the week. This episode features Black comediennes Michelle Buteau and Erin Jackson. • Boston Globe columnist Jeneé Osterheldt, who wrote about how there can be joy even during times of Black resistance, contributes an exclusive piece on the meaning of Black joy.
Air Date: 03/23/2021
Media: Releases

103. Faith

“Soul of a Nation” will focus on faith in its next episode with special guest host and six-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer and songwriter BeBe Winans. The episode will look at the state of the Black church, the intersection of faith and abortion and examine the role of forgiveness in the Black community. Winans, ABC News’ Linsey Davis, Sunny Hostin, Byron Pitts, Deborah Roberts and David Scott lead the hour. It will feature an exclusive interview with television personality and comedian Nick Cannon, a conversation with Botham Jean’s family, and two survivors of the Mother Emanuel mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The faith-focused episode of “Soul of a Nation” includes the following stories and conversations: • Pitts examines the history of the Black church and the role it currently plays in the Black community as struggles for racial justice persist in these divided times. Through discussions with Baltimore pastors Harold Carter Jr. (New Shiloh Baptist Church), Heber Brown III (Pleasant Hope Baptist Church), Bishop Walter Scott Thomas (New Psalmist Baptist Church) and activist Lady Brion, viewers will learn about the past, the present and the future of the church. • Roberts takes an in-depth look at the intersection of faith and politics on the issue of abortion. This segment features interviews with St. Louis pastor Michelle Higgins (St. John’s – The Beloved Community); Kawanna Shannon, a St. Louis Planned Parenthood worker who says she’s a devout Christian; and Cherilyn Holloway, an activist who believes that Black Lives Matter, but that the fight should also include Black lives that have yet to be born. • Featuring interviews with Polly Sheppard and Felicia Sanders, two survivors of the Mother Emanuel mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina; members of Botham Jean’s family including Brandt Jean and Allisa Charles-Findley; and senior pastor at Mt. Zion AME Church Dr. Kylon Middleton. Scott investigates the complicated relationship between Black Americans and forgiveness in the wake of violence. • Hostin moderates this week’s “In the Kitchen” conversation with African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author of “The Devil You Know” Charles Blow, and humanitarian and author of “Message to the Millineals” Rizza Islam about the mix of faiths in the Black community. • In his first network interview since the fallout over making anti-Semitic comments and espousing conspiracy theories, Cannon sits down with Davis to discuss his journey towards atonement, education and self-improvement. • Musical performance to be announced.
Air Date: 03/16/2021
Media: Releases

102. Next

Marsai Martin guest hosts ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” with interviews with H.E.R. and a “In the Kitchen” discussion moderated by Sunny Hostin with Chi Ossé, Patrisse Cullors, and Tianna Arata, airing Tuesday, March 9 at 10PM ET on ABC.
Air Date: 03/09/2021
Media: Releases

101. Reckonings

The premiere episode will dive into this moment of racial reckoning in present-day America tackling issues ranging from policing to reparations and segments highlighting the arts and entertainment. Brown, ABC News’ Adrienne Bankert, Sunny Hostin, Byron Pitts and Pierre Thomas lead this groundbreaking hour. It will feature interviews with actor and reparations activist Danny Glover, EGOT winner, producer and social activist John Legend, and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, one of the many officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6. Plus, Legend will give a special intimate musical performance.
Air Date: 03/02/2021
Media: Releases