"Mr. Soul" Documentary: A Labor of Love
10/17/2012, 6:30 p.m.
Soul!, appeared on WNET in New York, in the city first, then across the country between 1968 and 1973. It aired against the backdrop of the Black Power and Civil Rights movements, civil unrest in urban cities, and blacks breaking through centuries-old barriers to assert their independence. Haizlip, his niece said, was a fearless pioneer who re-conceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage.
"The platform he created empowered women, gays and the black cultural revolution. For example, he let Nikki Giovanni interview James Baldwin in Europe in 1971 at a time when black poetry wasn't really being promoted."
Haizlip has hosted events, including viewing parties and fundraisers in New York, D.C. and Los Angeles. On Sept. 24, she and her crew held the Kickstarter Launch Party and Fundraising Reception at the National Black Program Consortium in Harlem.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for artistic endeavors.
"The consortium is a watchdog for diversity and they are one of the heart sponsors of our film," said Haizlip. "We wanted to honor our donors and Harlem was a place with Ellis' presence."
The crowd enjoyed great food, ambience, a performance by the Last Poets, singer Maxine Brown and acclaimed chanteuse Melba Moore who surprised all with an impromptu song "which blew everyone away."
Kickstarter, Haizlip said, is special.
"It provides a level playing field by becoming a backer of projects," she explained. "We have to raise $75,000 in 30 days from Sept. 24 to Oct 24. It's an all or nothing kind of deal. If our pledges aren't met, we will not get a penny. It is such an incentive to get our message out and they tell five friends who tell five friends."
Haizlip, owner of Shoes in the Bed Productions, said the project garnered $6,500 in the first 24 hours and on Oct. 16, donors had given $28,995.
"We took the Kickstarter route because we can't wait for grants," she said. "This gives people ownership in bringing this story to life."
For more information, visit www.mrsoulmovie.com