BET has a new series set to drop in February and the casting has been under wraps until today! Deadline nabbed the exclusive and when we took a peek at the cast, we were speechless!
First off, let's get into the back story. "American Soul" is a series based on the life and career of famed "Soul Train" host Don Cornelius. When we saw the cast photos we were like "Ok Michelle, good to see you working boo. Bobby, you playing yourself right? Gabrielle "New Whitney" Dennis if definitely Whitney Houston right?" We thought all of these folks were essentially playing themselves or characters they were known for. That turned out to be a big old NO!
"Grammy-winning singer and actress Williams will play the legendary Diana Ross. Ross is impressed by Don Cornelius, who is courting her to appear on his new show, but she hasn’t quite decided if she will accept his offer yet. Brown portrays soul singer Rufus Thomas, known for the classic soul song “Do the Funky Chicken.” Dennis, who starred as Whitney Houston in BET’s The Bobby Brown Story will play Tina Turner, who is enjoying a hugely successful career with her husband as “Ike & Tina Turner” as they perform “Proud Mary” on Soul Train.
A true professional, Tina chronically suffers at the hands of Ike, played by Hit the Floor‘s Freeman, but you’d never know her pain by the love she shows onstage through her music. A high maintenance talent who makes a lot of demands on management, Ike also intends to help Don turn Soul Train into a club and franchise. He doesn’t bother to hide his behavior towards his wife.
K. Michelle will portray Martha Reeves, the extraordinarily talented R&B pop singer who led the band, Martha and The Vandellas. During the band’s Soul Train appearance, Martha offers professional advice to an up-and-coming performer."
Sinqua Walls, who's made previous appearances on "Power", "Once Upon a Time" and "Tales", was already on board to play the leading role as Don Cornelius.
"Series regulars also include Grammy-nominee Kelly Price, Jason Dirden, Iantha Richardson, Christopher Jefferson, Katlyn Nichol, and Jelani Winston. Kelly Rowland portrays Gladys Knight in a multi-episode arc."
So far, I can see why they cast him as Cornelius but we're trying to figure out how they pegged Michelle Williams (who we love) to be Diana Ross? Maybe because Holly Robinson-Peete isn't as young as they need her to be for the part (y'all remember when she was Ms. Ross in The Jackson movie right?). Bobby Brown as Rufus Thomas? We can dig it! Check out this photo of Rufus Thomas in his heyday! Yup, Bobby for the win!
K. Michelle, she could pull off a Martha Reeves in our opinion but Gabrielle Dennis as Tina Turner. . . WE NEED THIS ONE! After Dennis pulled of an excellent portrayal of Whitney Houston in "The Bobby Brown Story" we're certain she can take on the mannerisms of the legendary Tina Turner just as easy. This one is probably the most spot-on when it comes to casting but, we'll be watching the series nonetheless.
Are you cool with the casting or would you make substitutions?