With Fall and Winter series season slowly creeps upon us, BET is giving us all a great show to cozy up with in American Soul - an unfliching look at Don Cornelius, his Soul Train dancers, crew and musicians in an unforgiving Hollywood in the 1970’s.
As anticipation builds for the show, the cast has been announced.
Jason Dirden who most recently starred as Basie Shanks in OWN’s Greenleaf will play Gerald Aims – An established gangster and club owner who hasn’t lost the hustle, Aims becomes Don Cornelius’ close associate – perhaps his only friend – introducing Don to the decadent world of LA.
Iantha Richardson who can be seen as Adult Tess on NBC’s hit show THIS IS US will play Tessa Lauren – a classically trained ballerina who broke down racial barriers to make a name for herself. As the Soul Train Dance Coordinator, Tessa balances becoming a businesswoman, finding her groove as a wife, while clashing with Don Cornelius over the essence of what Soul Train should be.
Christopher Jefferson who starred in AMC’s Fifth Ward as the lead and also appeared on Blackish will play Julius “JT” Tucker – JT is a natural-born music producer who can play everything from Bootsie to Bach, and holds his own in rising music trio with Simone and Kendall. But his complicated home life may threaten his musical aspirations.
Katlyn Nichol who's a triple threat actress, who will be singing and dancing in the show comes from a musical background, having previously been signed under Mary J. Blige’s Matriarch/Island Def Jam label will play Simon Clarke. Simone is enormously talented and ambitious. She’s the driving force in music trio, Encore, with her brother Kendall and JT.
Jelani Winston who's a 2017 Shuler Award recipient and set to burst on the scene as a dynamic triple threat will play Kendall Clarke. Kendall is a teenaged dad toeing the line between being a player and the responsibilities of adulthood. A true talent, with mad dancing skills and a powerful voice, Kendall finds himself longing for success as part of music trio Encore, but growing jealous of his sister, Simone, as she gets everything he wants.