ABC News’ critically acclaimed series Soul of a Nation returns for Black History Month with two new editions.
Black actresses are finally given their long overdue flowers in Screen Queens Rising, which airs Thursday, Feb. 3 at 8 pm. Hosted by ABC News Live Prime anchor Linsey Davis and ABC News senior national affairs correspondent Deborah Roberts, the special features Roberts’ interview with Tessa Thompson and GMA3: What You Need to Know co-anchor T.J. Holmes’ interview with actress/director Halle Berry, and interviews with Debbie Allen, Jackée Harry, Marla Gibbs and Regina Hall.
While discussing how Black actresses have been mistreated in the past, Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising “examines how Black actresses of Hollywood have become power brokers and the iconic moments and roles have paved the way for them today.”
“While we remain dedicated to telling the impactful and important stories around the Black community all year long, ABC News will provide special coverage throughout February to salute Black excellence,” said Kim Godwin, president of ABC News. “We will celebrate and honor Black culture across all programs and platforms, taking an in-depth look at issues past and present while spotlighting those who have overcome significant obstacles and paved the way for a better future.”
It is followed on the same night at 9 pm by Soul of a Nation Presents: X / o n e r a t e d – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice. The special “profiles Muhammad Abdul Aziz, a man who was wrongfully convicted of Malcolm X’s assassination.” Nightline co-anchor Byron Pitts conducts Aziz’s first TV interview since being exonerated.
Including interviews with Aziz’s wife Paula McLellan, son Craig Butler, daughter Edris B. Green, independent historian Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, and A. Peter Bailey, “friend and associate of Malcolm X who was at the Audubon Ballroom on the day of the assassination,” the episode “retraces Malcolm X’s shocking 1965 assassination, Aziz’s decades behind bars and on parole, and the devastating impact on Aziz’s family.”
The late Khalil Islam, also wrongfully convicted for the assassination and posthumously exonerated will be remembered in interviews with his children Shahid Johnson, Ameen Johnson and Khalil Ibn Islam.
Through an interview with his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s enduring legacy is examined, as well as why and how the wrongful convictions happened.
“True to the essence of Soul of a Nation, these two specials embody the ongoing pursuit of visibility, justice and authentic representation of Black life in America,” said Marie Nelson, senior vice president, integrated content strategy, ABC News. “On stage and screen, Black actresses have created conversations about the Black lived experience and have risen, knocking down barriers and portraying that truth for the world to see.”
“And in the case of Malcolm X’s assassination, an epic civil rights true crime, the story of the exonerated Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam sheds light on the lives of two men and their families who’ve been fighting to be seen in a system that has often rendered them invisible and expendable,” Nelson continued.
Soul of a Nation Presents: Screen Queens Rising airs Thursday, Feb. 3 at 8 pm on ABC, followed by Soul of a Nation Presents: X / o n e r a t e d – The Murder of Malcolm X and 55 Years to Justice at 9 pm.