Video Soul was a hit Black music program that aired on BET in 1981, the year the network was launched. Donnie Simpson, a popular radio host in the Detroit and Washington, D.C. areas, served as host from 1983 until it was canceled in 1995. During that time, Simpson became a mainstay in Black households, bringing his charisma to the soulful show. He interviewed a range of R&B artists like Aaliyah, Stephanie Mills, and Bobby Brown, hosting the most popular videos and featuring performances from artists like Stevie Wonder and SWV.
After the show ended, Simpson continued his reign, hosting the nationally syndicated radio show The Donnie Simpson Show for more than three decades. He captivated generations of listeners and made history as the first non-musician to be inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2015. Last year, he was also inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Recently, Simpson announced that he and the show are making a comeback, 25 years after it last aired on television, this time via Tubi. This free video streaming service has revamped it as Donnie Simpson’s Video Soul. The veteran host says this is the first time he’s owned his own show and really hopes that all of his fans will support him.
“I can’t tell you how many people over the years have suggested that I bring it back. I told them I would & today, it’s official. Video Soul is live and free on #Tubi right now. This is a huge day for me because it represents the first time I have ownership of my own show,” Simpson captioned a 30 sec teaser of the new show on Instagram.
The trailer featured several artists championing Simpson’s return, including Tichina Arnold, Young Joc, Syleena Johnson, and Teddy Riley. The new format doesn’t include music videos but features interviews with rappers, R&B artists, and hit producers like Keith Sweat, Tweet, Jazze Pha, Gospel MC Lecrae, and The Fugees’ Pras Michal.
Video Soul is the second previously canceled BET show to get a reboot, the network recently announcing the return of Big Tigger’s Rap City. The popular show aired from 1989 to 2008, featuring many hip hop legends and the famed basement ciphers. The new installment, Rap City ‘21, aired just before the BET Hip Hop Awards this year.
The first six episodes of Donnie Simpson’s Video Soul are currently available on Tubi for free.
News Source: BOTWC/ The Grio