Bad Move, VH1

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.

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  1. i feel you on that. but you should check out BET’s new channel Centric (used to be BET Jazz). very similar, none of the crap that is on BET now and, in my opinion, is exactly what BET should be. I don’t know what channel it would be on Direct TV though, something to look up.

  2. Noooooo!!!! I love that channel!! In NJ, VH1 Soul is only on Comcast and Centric is only on Direct TV. I have Comcast, so I’ll be out of luck if it is cancelled:(

  3. Centric seems to be a cross between BET and VH1 Soul programming. I have seen Soulstage aired with Jill Scott just recently. Both are owned by Viacom.

  4. BTW, Centric is channel 330 on Direct TV here in Atlanta. Hope that helps.

  5. Afrobella you’ve got to be kidding me! WTH is going on with television! My channel is always set to VH1 Soul and though I know they have stopped showing a couple of their documentaries they’ve maintained their great quality! I truly hope this is a rumor if so, we all got to come together and write to them and demand that keep the channel active! Sitting here and talking about it isn’t going to make it stop. Too many of our great shows are being taken off the air (Girlfriends, The Game) and being replaced by Bad Girls, and other shows with no class or substance! Please keep us updated!

  6. This news makes me so sad. VH1 Soul is the ONLY reason – and I mean only – that I ever considered getting cable. I had three months worth of cable monies saved up – when I got to six, I was gonna sign up. Not anymore – I’m donating half those funds to Haiti and the other half will support the new product junkie in me.

  7. Afrobella…i heard this too and want to cry. VH1 soul is the only music channel I watch. I would really be upset about this.

  8. That is so sad. I listen to VH1 Soul while I get ready for work. They play good music and help many artist get a wider audience. That is how I discovered Raheem DaVaughn and Dwele!

  9. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE VH1 Soul and I can’t believe the news!! I am very upset by this because I just love to keep the channel on VH1 Soul all day and watch videos from “back in the day” that I never even knew existed. We definitely need to launch a campaign and petition Viacom to not let this happen!

  10. PR Urbanista says:

    What can we do to stop this action?

  11. Aww man, first The Food Network (no more ‘Down Home with the Neely’s’!!!) and now this!! Ugh!!!

  12. trini4christ says:

    Bella, I completely agree with you that VH1 Soul is an uplifting channel. It’s such a shame they are getting rid of it. I remember watching this channel to figure out what songs or CDs I should download for my computer or just to enjoy the videos on my day off.

  13. I live in Harlem and I have Time Warner Cable; TWC never did carry VH1 Soul and I would always be envious of my BK/BX people who had this channel. Guess my hopes for TWC picking this channel are gone for good.

  14. Patrick Jnr. says:

    Patrice, you turned me on to this channel when we visited in 2007, and I’ve been hooked since! While I’m typing this, I’m watching Christopher Williams’ video for I’m Dreaming, before that it was Morris Day and the Time with Jungle Love! Oh the memories! These were my jams, and my time! I really hope they change their minds, but it seems that the world has no more room for sentimentality. Centric is cool, but I haven’t seen much old school yet, and I miss the easy going jazz from when it was BetJ, Sigh. Thanks for the post lil sister! p.s. I joined the save vh1 Soul movement on Facebook to see if that helps.

  15. VH1/ VH1 Soul is owned by Viacom. And Viacom doesn’t give a hoot about quality, just money. Which explains the reality shows and the canceling of VH1 Soul.

  16. Centric (the channel formerly known as BET J) is a mash-up of VH-1 Soul and BET J programming. Very good channel in terms of music. I just wish that incorporating VH-1 Soul didn’t mean the loss of “My Two Cents” on BET J–it was one of my favorite shows!

    @ Miss Moon–The hell?! Why is Food Network talking off my “play uncle & auntie” Pat & Gina Neely?!

  17. Another reason why I am glad i don’t have cable-makes no sense to pay to watch tv, and the good stuff is cancelled while the garbage keeps piling on. I discovered VH1 Soul years ago while channel surfing in the middle of the night, first video i saw there was Soul II Soul’s Back to Life, followed by a few other 80’s/90’s soul greats, even hilarious Tribe Called Quest videos i did not even know existed-i was like, what?!

    really a shame this programming has been cancelled

  18. I really hope this is not true. I literally turn the tv on and tune into VH1 Soul first everyday! This news being true would really send me to the bed in sadness :(

  19. Noooooooo!!!!! it’s the only channel I watch. It’s the only reason I have cable!!! Well, I’ve recently discovered the joys of DVR but right now I’m only recording stuff haven’t actually had the time to watch anything. *sigh* I noticed BET J was gone. Thanks for telling me that Centirc is it’s replacement. I just keep skipping over that channel. all of this foolishness makes me miss The Box… I just want GOOD music 24/7

  20. The quality of programming these days are just horrible. What passes for entertainment is just crazy…Jersey Shore anyone???

  21. flygyrl72 says:

    Bella, I have seen this coming for a minute now. Back in 06, here in LA, Time Warner quit carrying the station, so I’ve been going thru withdrawal for quite a while. And when I signed up for Directv last May, same thing, they don’t offer the channel. As some of the other posters have mentioned, Centric is doing a nice job, but still, they don’t hold a candle to VH1 Soul, who seemed more committed to neo-soul & old school type cuts. I’m definitely joining the FB & Twitter groups.

  22. MsOverproof says:

    NOOOOO!! not my VH1 Soul. I danced for hrs in my livign room to Soul School all the time! Good programming just does not exist on television anymore. Only crap reality shows with has been washed up celebs determined to hold on by any means necessary to the fame they once had. Centric is a new channel very similar in nature to VH1 Soul. Let me hope that it will be the replacement. BET is THA WORST!!!!!!!!!!! so can’t go back to that. Maybe we should just start our own.. Naturalista Television.

  23. I’ve been watching VH1 Sould since 1999. I moved back to NY in 2006 and at the time I wasn’t able to get VH1 Soul on Cablevision. This past summer, I upgraded my service and realized that I could get the channel. I am in love with VH1 Soul. I put the channel on in the morning, it helps me get up and ready for work. We’ve lost way too many beneficial programs already. Losing VH1 Soul will hurt.

  24. vh1 soul is not available in san francisco, california and im very upset about it! this sucks! this is terrible! i love vh1 soul! now they have this wack centrics channel its nowhere near the same as vh1 soul!

  25. vh1 soul is still on at&t cable in california. i recently got uverse set up and vh1 soul is available, thank god… seems like at&t consistently carries it (had at&t cable 8 years ago in the bay area with it). just praying they don’t drop the channel…..

  26. I just found these sites that made some of us aware that we may be losing VH-1 soul. I am one of those people who don’t care for what is called TV today. For the past 10 yrs here in Albuquerque I’ve watched VH-1 soul to keep up with my black people. Now I am stuck with Centric. I seen enough to say “I am black, I am soul, I miss my VH-1 soul”. When my Comcast contract is up I am cancelling my subscribtion.

  27. Greg Rumpff says:

    “VH1/ VH1 Soul is owned by Viacom. And Viacom doesn’t give a hoot about quality, just money. Which explains the reality shows and the canceling of VH1 Soul.”

    Val is absolutely correct. As long as people watch crappy interchangeable “reality” TV shows, true music video channels will keep going the way of the dodo. *sigh*

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  1. […] viewers. Yet finding blogs like Music Nerdery and hearing the same sentiments echoed by our fellow Bella, I knew this wasn’t just a flighty pull of the plug for some. VH1Soul matters to the masses […]

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