Once upon a time, not that long ago – VH1 was my favorite channel. This was in the heyday of Best Week Ever — Saturday mornings I’d eagerly put VH1 on to see what embarrassing media events would be clowned by the rotating cast of comedians and semi-celebs. Now VH1 is more likely to be the channel responsible for creating semi-celebs, who then go on to create their own embarrassing media events. (ahem – Tila Tequila).
I miss the good old days. But whenever I had it up to here with VH1’s bottom of the barrel reality television antics, there was always the network’s angel – VH1 Soul. A channel I loved so much that I even cited it as the source of my inspiration on my About Me page.
Today I learned — via Music Nerdery — that VH1 Soul will soon cease to exist.
This hasn’t been officially reported yet and I’d love to hear from VH1 officials directly on this, if it is so. For now, I’m sincerely hoping it isn’t.
When VH1 Soul began, it was more than a breath of fresh air. It blended black music’s history with its present. You could see a live Bob Marley clip followed by a Damian Marley clip followed by Erykah Badu, followed by Bilal. Or Raphael Saadiq, followed by Goapele, followed by Sade, followed by vintage Aretha Frankin. VH1 Soul was a thing of beauty in its early days. Over time, the classic clips disappeared. Then slowly, awards show repeats crept in and somewhere along the way, I stopped paying close attention to the programming changes of the channel. I completely lost track of VH1 Soul when we moved from Miami and wound up with Direct TV instead of Comcast. See, apparently Direct TV doesn’t offer channels like MTV Jams and VH1 Soul. Boo, hiss.
But even when the musical stew was diluted with filler, even when they replayed the same segments over and over again, VH1 Soul provided moments of excellence. Case in point, VH1 Soul Stage. Click to watch Raphael Saadiq create his own musical memory lane for a taste. How can you cancel that, VH1?
If VH1 cancels VH1 Soul, that speaks volumes about what the network is going for. It would indicate that they’d rather support more pseudo celebrities and invest in the lowest class of reality television, than continue to offer fans a channel of music that uplifts and enlightens.
Click here to follow @SaveVH1Soul on Twitter, and click here to join the Save VH1 Soul Facebook page. Here’s hoping Viacom does the right thing by lovers of soul music.