‘Soul Of A Nation: Black In Vegas” Special Announced
Disney’s ABC News Studios has announced a brand new one-hour special of the Emmy Award-winning “Soul Of A Nation”, which is being released to celebrate Black History Month.
The new “Soul of a Nation” special is called “Black in Vegas,” and it explores the history of Black entertainers in Las Vegas and celebrates those who are now ruling the historic strip. The ABC News Studios primetime special details the countless household names who have made Las Vegas their home ― from Usher, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson to Boyz II Men, Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson, joining top comedians Marsha Warfield, George Wallace, Eddie Griffin and other top artists. “Black in Vegas” looks at the timeline of historical events that paved the way for today’s generation, like the 1971 federal consent decree that forced hotels and casinos to give Black workers the opportunity to be in front-of-the-house positions. Near the same time, entertainers like Frank Sinatra helped kick down barriers for Black performers in Sin City by demanding that his collaborators, like band leader Quincy Jones and fellow performer Sammy Davis Jr., should stay at the same hotel as him.
Today, Black entertainers are now headlining or performing in a variety of shows on the strip, including their own residencies, Cirque du Soleil’s “Mad Apple,” “Magic Mike Live,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Chippendales.”
“Black in Vegas” will feature interviews with Smokey Robinson, comedians George Wallace and Luenell, Usher, Ne-Yo, Anna Bailey (the first Black showgirl to perform in Sin City), and Florence LaRue from the Fifth Dimension, as well as never-before-seen video and an interview with Sammy Davis Jr. about performing in Las Vegas. The special also gives inside perspective from cultural commentators and workers in leadership positions at hotels and theaters on what it’s like to make a living on the strip and highlights some of the artists who will perform there this year, sharing reflections on what it means to be “Black in Vegas.”
Catherine McKenzie is the executive producer for “Black in Vegas.”
“Soul of a Nation Presents: Black in Vegas” airs Wednesday, February 1st 2023 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST) on ABC, and it will be available the next day on Hulu in the United States. While no international release has yet been confirmed, it’s likely to be released at some point soon since previous “Soul Of A Nation” specials have been released as Star Originals on Disney+ around the world.