ABC News announced award-winning actor/producer Sterling K. Brown will be the special guest host for the series premiere of primetime newsmagazine “Soul of a Nation.” 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. This historic six-episode series will debut Tuesday, March 2 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST), on ABC. Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.
The premiere episode of “Soul of a Nation” includes the following stories and conversations:
- In an ABC News exclusive, Thomas speaks in a one-on-one interview with Officer Dunn, the first and, to date, only U.S. Capitol police officer to speak out. Dunn, who was quoted numerous times during the impeachment trial, details the fury and horror of the insurrection at the Capitol, speaks honestly about the role race played, and discusses race and policing nationally in this time of Black Lives Matter.
- Pitts travels to Evanston, Illinois, the first locality in the country to fund a plan to distribute reparations to its Black residents. The story reveals how the city arrived at this historic point and how they are changing the national dialogue on reparations. Pitts interviews actor and reparations activist Glover and speaks with community leaders, historians and multigenerational family members who, in some cases, lived through the insidious racism and redlining in this now-liberal Chicago suburb.
- 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 Brown and Angela Rye.
- A mini-documentary by ESPN’s The Undefeated chronicles the racial reckoning in film in the Black community, from the early days when African Americans were virtually shut out of cinema to recent years where Hollywood filmmakers are experiencing a forceful push for change both in front of and behind the camera. Viewers will hear from a variety of personal perspectives, including Tommy Davidson, Wes Jackson, Sylvia Obell, John Ridley, Rebecca Theodore-Vachon and Justin Tinsley.
- Bankert sits down for an interview with Legend regarding music, activism and the importance of telling Black stories in Hollywood. He’ll close out the show with an intimate piano and vocal performance of his Oscar® short-listed song “Never Break” from the documentary “Giving Voice.”
Brown joins the previously announced Jemele Hill and Marsai Martin on the stellar roster of special guest hosts for each “Soul of a Nation” episode with interviews and reporting by ABC News anchors and correspondents.
“Soul of a Nation,” the first broadcast network newsmagazine that aims to put Black life in America front and center, will present viewers with a unique window into authentic realities of Black life and dive deeper into this critical moment of racial reckoning. It will travel across the country, unpacking issues critical to Black Americans through intimate storytelling, and bridge the past, present and future through a variety of voices and experiences from athletes, entertainers, performers and screenwriters. Each episode will explore a specific theme, including spirituality, Black joy, activism in sports, and the racial reckoning that erupted after George Floyd’s death; and familiar faces – performers, activists, scholars and clergy – will gather for an entertaining and provocative conversation “in the kitchen” about current events. A special performance featuring some of the nation’s greatest musicians or spoken-word artists will close out each show.
“Soul of a Nation” is executive produced by Eric Johnson and Robe Imbriano. Chantre Camack serves as executive editorial producer. James Adolphus is series director, and Marie Nelson is the series creator and senior vice president of Integrated Content Strategy at ABC News.
“Soul of a Nation” is the latest original programming from ABC News which has a renewed focus on telling diverse stories across the news division. Previous programming includes the No. 1-rated “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming,” three-day division-wide series “Pandemic – A Nation Divided” on the disparity in race and class amid the pandemic, “America in Pain: What Comes Next?” on the protests and outrage across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd and police brutality and systemic racism against Black Americans, the month-long reporting series “Turning Point” and pre-election special “America’s Future: The Power of the Latino Vote.”