“Soul of a Nation” will focus on faith in its next episode with special guest host and six-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter BeBe Winans. The episode will look at the state of the Black Church, the intersection of faith and abortion and examine the role of forgiveness in the Black community. Winans, ABC News’ Linsey Davis, Sunny Hostin, Byron Pitts, Deborah Roberts and David Scott lead the hour. It will feature an exclusive interview with television personality and comedian Nick Cannon, a conversation with Botham Jean’s family and two survivors of the Mother Emanuel mass shooting in Charleston, S.C. The new episode of “Soul of a Nation” airs Tuesday, March 16 (10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET) on ABC. Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.
The faith focused episode of “Soul of a Nation” includes the following stories and conversations:
- Pitts examines the history of the Black Church and the role it currently plays in the Black community as struggles for racial justice persist in these divided times. Through discussions with Baltimore pastors Harold Carter Jr. (New Shiloh Baptist Church), Heber Brown III (Pleasant Hope Baptist Church), Bishop Walter Scott Thomas (New Psalmist Baptist Church) and activist Lady Brion, viewers will learn about the past, the present and the future of the Church.
- Roberts takes an in-depth look at the intersection of faith and politics on the issue of abortion. This segment features interviews with St. Louis pastor Michelle Higgins (St. John’s – The Beloved Community), Kawanna Shannon, a St. Louis Planned Parenthood worker who says she’s a devout Christian, and Cherilyn Holloway, an activist who believes that Black Lives Matter, but that the fight should also include Black lives that have yet to be born.
- Featuring interviews with Polly Sheppard and Felicia Sanders, two survivors of the Mother Emanuel mass shooting in Charleston, S.C., members of Botham Jean’s family including Brandt Jean and Allisa Charles-Findley, and Senior Pastor at Mt. Zion AME Church Dr. Kylon Middleton, Scott investigates the complicated relationship between Black Americans and forgiveness in the wake of violence.
- Hostin moderates this week’s “In the Kitchen” conversation with African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, New York Times Op-Ed columnist and author of “The Devil You Know” Charles Blow and humanitarian and author of “Message to the Millineals” Rizza Islam about the mix of faiths in the Black community.
- In his first network interview since the fallout over making anti-Semitic comments and espousing conspiracy theories, Cannon sits down with Davis to discuss his journey towards atonement, education and self-improvement.
- Musical performance to be announced.
“Soul of a Nation,” the first broadcast network newsmagazine that aims to put Black life in America front and center, will present viewers with a unique window into authentic realities of Black life and dive deeper into this critical moment of racial reckoning. It will travel across the country, unpacking issues critical to Black Americans through intimate storytelling, and bridge the past, present and future through a variety of voices and experiences from athletes, entertainers, performers and screenwriters. Each episode will explore a specific theme, including spirituality, Black joy, activism in sports and the racial reckoning that erupted after George Floyd’s death, and familiar faces – performers, activists, scholars and clergy – will gather for an entertaining and provocative conversation “in the kitchen” about current events. A special performance featuring some of the nation’s greatest musicians or spoken word artists will close out each show.
“Soul of a Nation” is executive produced by Eric Johnson and Robe Imbriano, Chantre Camack serves as Executive Editorial Producer, James Adolphus is series director and Marie Nelson is the series creator and Senior Vice President of Integrated Content Strategy at ABC News.
“Soul of a Nation” is the latest original programming from ABC News which has a renewed focus on telling diverse stories across the news division. Previous programming includes the #1-rated “Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming,” three-day division-wide series “Pandemic – A Nation Divided” on the disparity in race and class amid the pandemic, “America in Pain: What Comes Next?” on the protests and outrage across the country in response to the killing of George Floyd and police brutality and systemic racism against Black Americans, the month-long reporting series “Turning Point” and pre-election special “America’s Future: The Power of the Latino Vote.”