With Nov. 8 on the horizon, it might be of utmost import that we enjoy what’s left of 2016. Don’t profess to be a prophet or anything, but this time next year—Oohhh weee!
Our travel might be tracked. A simple thing such as going to Las Vegas for the weekend may lead to recruitment into the Border Wall Builders Association or enrollment into the Super Predatorial Deprogramming Society, especially if we’re going to enjoy ourselves with like-minded folks who look like us.
So, brothers and sisters, let’s remember that once a year we meet in Las Vegas to reconnect and celebrate who we are and how we got here, at what is now known as the Soul Train Weekend. The four-day weekend of events will include intimate performances, electrifying concerts, an outdoor day party and exclusive late night parties—all leading up to the 2016 Soul Train Awards, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, hosted again by the incomparable Erykah Badu.
Super fan of the legacy of Soul Train, Richard Gay, shares why he’s looking forward to the weekend. “With Soul Train it wasn’t just music,” he said. “You’d have actors/actresses, politicians and comedians. Soul Train did Black pop culture before it was cool.”
Gay is more than just a fan of Soul Train’s legacy and ideals. He’s also executive vice president of Strategy and Operations at BET Networks and played an integral role in forging the allegiance between entities.
“If you were to take a step back and look at iconic brands in music, iconic brands in television or iconic brands built and groomed by Black folks, you wouldn’t go long in any of those categories before you got to Soul Train and BET,” Gay said. “I feel really privileged to be part of the team that bought those together.”
Gay continued, “We at BET look at all the ways people consume content. We’re a content company. That’s what we do, we make great content. So with the library of Soul Train episodes and the Soul Train Awards, the Christmas Specials and the like, the first thing we did was get those digitized. Now you combine that with the BET library of content, you’re talking multiple decades of the best in Black music and pop culture.”
Our history, controlled by us! What a concept!
Although the Soul Train Awards are in the forefront right now, other methods of bringing attention to what Soul Train was and remains are in the works, including a Broadway musical. BET Networks is teaming up with Sheryl Underwood’s Pack Rat Foundation for Education and King Artist Entertainment to bring the iconic Soul Train brand to select Historically Black Colleges and Universities during the 2016-17 homecoming season. Inclusive of three critical C’s—concerts, comedy and conversation—the collaboration will have engaging and interactive elements that allow students and alumni to preserve and celebrate the Soul Train heritage and legacy in music, dance and fashion.
“BET is thrilled to build on the legacy in the college market, where we can simultaneously put a timeless brand in front of new and familiar audiences, while also reinstating our commitment to the higher education community,” Gay concluded.
Sheryl Underwood offered, “While maintaining the foundation of Soul Train’s origin, the young people on HBCU campuses will become the conductors of Soul Train. There’s a passion right now for music and social activism. Pack Rat Foundation for Education, BET Networks and King Artist Entertainment will bring the community together with love, peace and soul.”
If you’re interested in attending, the schedule of events is listed below:
Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.
“Acoustically Speaking,” spon-
sored by Toyota
House of Blues Las Vegas at Man-
Featuring Monica, Jazmine Sulli-
van and Yuna
Friday, Nov. 4, 8 p.m.
“Soul Train Music Festival”
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Featuring Jill Scott, Tyrese, Antho-
ny Hamilton and Tish Hyman
Saturday, Nov. 5
“Soul Train Day Party”
Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay
Bay, noon to 6 p.m.
Featuring Bell Biv DeVoe and Kid
“The Comedy Get Down”
Mandalay Bay Events Center,
Featuring Cedric the Entertainer,
Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley,
George Lopez and Charlie Murphy
Sunday, Nov. 6, 6 p.m.
“Soul Train Awards”
Over and out. Holla next week. Til then, enjoy the nightlife.