The Soul Train Awards will return to BET this year on Sunday (November 29th), bringing soulful performances from a variety of R&B and Soul music artists such as Brandy, Babyface, Jazmine Sullivan, Charlie Wilson, CeeLo Green, Ella Mai, Lucky Daye, Smokey Robinson and the sixth annual Lady of Soul honoree Monica. The show will follow the theme of “Feed Your Soul” and Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell will return to host this year. The Knockturnal got the chance to chat with some of this year’s performers and special guests during a Zoom virtual press conference in which they expressed their excitement.
Jazmine Sullivan who has made a musical comeback this year having released “Lost One” this past August, and most recently “Pick Up Your Feelings” and a cover version of the Christmas song “The First Noel” spoke about what to expect from her performance this Sunday telling BET, “It will be an ode to the past definitely, around like the sixties time period, and just beautifully shot just an amazing performance. I’m really proud of it. Benny Boom directed it and I think it’s gonna be really gorgeous.” After Sullivan touched upon continuing to deliver honesty in her upcoming musical releases, The Knockturnal got the chance to ask her if she has any plans to release a holiday album following her rendition of “The First Noel” for Spotify, in which she replied, “I feel like holiday projects are difficult. I hear a lot of people say they’re easy but I don’t feel that way because for me, I always like to bring something a little different to a holiday song and so it takes a little more effort for me to think of how to do that. I won’t say no but someday maybe.”
H.E.R. who leads this year’s nominees with eight nominations spoke with BET about embodying R&B and soul in her music saying, “I think it’s the legends that came before me that inspire me to sing the way I do. To me, R&B is rhythm and blues and rhythm and blues is in everything, so all my music is always R&B at the core. I love using real instruments and just conveying raw emotion. I think that’s what R&B and Soul really is.”
Amongst this year’s special guest appearances will be Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Brandee Evans. Dupri who worked with a number of R&B legends including Monica was asked by a reporter who he sees as a future R&B legend. “I feel like H.E.R. [she] has all the talent in the world to do that, but I also still feel like these R&B artists have to do more because hip hop is so dominant. And it’s never been like this so a lot of R&B artist that follows older R&B artist if you follow them you’re not gonna see the competition between the domination of hip hop. You’re gonna see hip hop come in but R&B was still leading the way because it was like the thing on the radio. But all of that’s changed so now R&B records are like second on radio or third on radio and the R&B artist have to do a lot more now to get it back to that forefront. But I feel like H.E.R., she has that thing.” Dupri remarked.
Other major nominees this year include Chris Brown who received seven nominations, and Beyonce and Young Thug who each received six nominations.
Prior to this year’s show, the network will air a one-hour long pre-show Soul-Coming: Countdown to The Soul Train Awards hosted by Flex Alexander and Shanice. Directly following the show will be the broadcast premiere of DJ Cassidy’s BET Soul Train Awards edition of his virtual series “Pass the Mic.” Aside from BET Network, this year’s show will be available for viewing on Philo which is offering a seven-day trial for new users.