ABC News announces special programming for Black History Month across its programs and platforms throughout the month of February, including the return of Emmy® Award-winning “Soul of a Nation” with a one-hour special, “Black in Vegas,” exploring the history of Black entertainers in Las Vegas and celebrating those who are now ruling the historic strip. The ABC News Studios primetime special details the countless household names who have made Las Vegas their home ― from Usher, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson to Boys II Men, Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson, joining top comedians Marsha Warfield, George Wallace, Eddie Griffin and other top artists. “Black in Vegas” looks at the timeline of historical events that paved the way for today’s generation, like the 1971 federal consent decree that forced hotels and casinos to give Black workers the opportunity to be in front-of-the-house positions. Near the same time, entertainers like Frank Sinatra helped kick down barriers for Black performers in Sin City by demanding that his collaborators, like band leader Quincy Jones and fellow performer Sammy Davis Jr., should stay at the same hotel as him. Today, Black entertainers are now headlining or performing in a variety of shows on the strip, including their own residencies, Cirque du Soleil’s “Mad Apple,” “Magic Mike Live,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Chippendales.”
“Black in Vegas” will feature interviews with Smokey Robinson, comedians George Wallace and Luenell, Usher, Ne-Yo, Anna Bailey (the first Black showgirl to perform in Sin City), and Florence LaRue from the Fifth Dimension, as well as never-before-seen video and an interview with Sammy Davis Jr. about performing in Las Vegas. The special also gives inside perspective from cultural commentators and workers in leadership positions at hotels and theaters on what it’s like to make a living on the strip and highlights some of the artists who will perform there this year, sharing reflections on what it means to be “Black in Vegas.”
Catherine McKenzie is the executive producer for “Black in Vegas.”
“Soul of a Nation Presents: Black in Vegas” airs Wednesday, Feb. 1 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EST) on ABC, next day on Hulu.
ABC News’ Black History Month coverage also includes dedicated programming and segments throughout the month, including:
- “Good Morning America” will celebrate Black History Month throughout February with dedicated profiles, segments and series. The planned coverage includes a three-part series highlighting HBCUs, segments honoring a Black healthcare community hero, an artist pushing for social change, Black influencers and trendsetters, Black women in sports, the Harlem Renaissance and more. “Deals and Steals” will include products from Black-owned businesses.
- “World News Tonight with David Muir” will dedicate the month of February to Black History Month, celebrating those across the country who are making a difference in their communities within its “America Strong” and “Made in America” segments.
- “Nightline” will air special content and features surrounding Black History Month throughout February.
- “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” will celebrate Black History Month with interviews featuring prominent political Black leaders and dedicated segments focused on issues that directly impact the Black community.
- “GMA3: What You Need to Know” will highlight Black stories throughout the month, notably profiling WGPR, the first Black-owned and operated television station in America.
- On Feb. 1, “The View” will kick off a month-long celebration of Black History Month on-air and across its social platforms. The program will honor unknown African American pioneers, trailblazers, innovators and thought leaders. The show will spotlight these hidden figures who have made a significant impact on American life in politics, social justice, the arts, science, sports and business with its “Black History Month FYI” series airing several days each week in February.
- ABC News Live will go beyond the headlines to find unique content to bring to viewers during Black History Month. Every Wednesday, the new series “Culture Conversations” will bring viewers into the discussion between two greats. Additionally, dayside programming will have two live segments each week featuring Black stories, and “Prime with Linsey Davis” will air impactful interviews and segments in accordance with Black History Month. Topics will be wide ranging and include conversations with prominent black leaders in industries such as dance, food, sports, music and more.
- ABC News’ flagship daily news podcast “Start Here” will run a series of segments examining how, more than a year after backlash to Black history swept through schools, these policies are affecting students at the elementary, high school and college levels. ABC Audio’s “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” its podcast focused on LGBTQ+ issues, will kick off Black History Month with a special episode featuring journalist and author Jemele Hill as its guest. ABC News Radio will include special reports during its hourly newscasts and will also have weekly segments on its news magazine “Perspective.” ABC Audio’s entertainment division will provide weekly written, audio and video content on all platforms for distribution to radio station affiliates, including “This Day in Black History” pieces.