If you’re tired of watching award shows and not knowing who any of these TikTok stars and Young/Lil [insert ridiculous name here] rappers are, then I’ve got some good news for you: It’s time for Soul Train Awards 2022, where grown folks music is celebrated. Premiering Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and BET Her, this year’s ceremony is once again hosted by actor/comedian Deon Cole and features tributes to Lady of Soul winners Xscape and Legend Award honorees Morris Day and The Time. Prior to the festivities, Cole spoke to The Root about his approach to hosting award shows and proper Soul Train line etiquette.
Though it’s no longer on the air, Soul Train is still an essential part of the Black experience. For Cole, the show’s humble beginnings and enduring legacy is part of what makes the brand so important.
“Soul Train to me is self-made in a sense. Don Cornelius had a dream—an idea—and he put a show together which stands the test of time to this day,” the Grown-ish star told The Root. “It’s still relevant, it’s still something that people check for and love. To go from a TV show they thought about, to now being an award event all these years [later], speaks for itself.”
In light of all the discussion about Black artists being left out of mainstream award shows, The Harder They Fall actor thinks more performers should stop worrying about what other audiences think of our art and community.
“That’s our show and it’s Black, but I just want us to stop comparing ourselves to other people. I think that when it comes to Black people, we always take other races into consideration with what we do and go, ‘We’re the Black version’. Or, ‘We’re this or that,’” Cole said. “That’s our show. We love it, we support it and that’s just it. We ain’t compared to nothing, ain’t nobody leaving us out of nothing. If you ain’t wanted there, you ain’t left out. So this is our thing and we rocking Soul Train forever.”
Just this year, we’ve seen how quickly award shows can go off the rails. However, Cole’s plan to keep things fun is definitely the best way to avoid the usual host/presenter pitfalls. In fact, the Charleen’s Boy comedian skipped the familiar award show host tropes this year.
“The world is so chaotic right now with everything…let’s get back to having fun, laughing and having a good time,” he said. “That’s what I did with the Soul Train Awards. Took it back to just having fun. I did no sketches, none of that, I just had fun. We just rocked, had a good time, we laughed and everybody felt like family. Hopefully, that comes through the TV screen when you all see it, which I believe it will. And people will be like man, this was a fun ride. That’s what I’m always about with everything I do.”
And you know we couldn’t talk about Soul Train without discussing a Soul Train line. In addition to letting me know that his all-time jam is the Michael Jackson classic “Off the Wall,” Deon also explained the very easy rules for proper Soul Train line etiquette.
“Whoever starts the line goes first. Whoever was like, ‘Come on, let’s get it going,’” he said. “We need to bring the Soul Train line back everywhere.”
Featuring performances from Ari Lennox, Muni Long, Chanté Moore, SiR, Tank and Q, as well as the Soul Cypher with D-Nice, Alex Vaughn, Durand Bernarr, and Tasha Cobbs Leonard, the Soul Train Awards 2022 premiere Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and BET Her.