From 1981 through the mid-90s, R&B and soul artists had a platform dedicated to them and their work. That platform was Video Soul, a two-hour program that ran on BET and was hosted by Donnie Simpson and Sherry Carter.
In a surprise announcement from Simpson himself on Wednesday (Sept. 29), Video Soul has officially been rebooted. The esteemed radio personality and host tweeted, “I’ve been waiting to say this for 25 years now…’Video Soul’ Is Back!!! I can’t tell you how many people over the years have suggested that I bring it back. I told them I would & today it’s official. Video Soul is live and free on #Tubi right now.”
The post also included the trailer for the new Video Soul. The reboot will highlight timeless R&B acts like Teddy Riley, K-Ci from Jodeci, and Keith Sweat, as well as younger and newer artists like Sammie and Asiahn. However, the new series also has more hip-hop acts sprinkled in including Pras of The Fugees, Lecrae, Kool Moe Dee, and Yung Joc.
I’ve been waiting to say this for 25 years now…Video Soul Is Back!!!
I can’t tell you how many people over the years have suggested that I bring it back. I told them I would & today it’s official. Video Soul is live and free on #Tubi right now.https://t.co/jrHxQR748j pic.twitter.com/syAxrTbW3v
— Donnie Simpson (@DonnieSimpson) September 29, 2021
In response to the news, fans tweeted, this was “just what the culture needed.” During the height of Video Soul‘s success, the program garnered interviews from R&B’s finest. It was the place where New Edition “reunited” at the peak of their internal tension. It was also where Aaliyah and R. Kelly “addressed” rumors about their relationship.
The first six episodes of the new Video Soul are currently airing for free on Tubi.
|Born||January 30, 1954 (age 67)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Occupation||Disc jockey, television personality|
Donnie Simpson (born January 30, 1954) is a longtime American radio DJ as well as a television and movie personality. He hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show on Washington, D.C. radio station WPGC-FM from March 1993 to January 29, 2010. Currently, he hosts The Donnie Simpson Show on D.C.-based radio station WMMJ-FM (Majic 102.3 FM), which began airing on August 17, 2015. Simpson is the first urban-format radio personality to have an annual salary over $1 million without being syndicated.
In 2003, Simpson, through his agent and longtime friend, George Parker, inked a 6-year, 8-figure deal with WPGC-FM making Simpson the highest paid African-American radio personality ever without syndication. He was Billboard’s Radio Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year. On August 17, 2020, it was announced that Donnie Simpson, along with six other broadcasters, would be inducted into The Radio Hall of Fame. The Class of 2020 inductees were honored during a live radio broadcast induction ceremony from multiple locations and across multiple audio platforms on October 29, 2020. Donnie has also been known by the nicknames, “Love Bug”, “The Green-eyed Bandit” and “Dr. Green Eyes” for his luminous, light green eyes.
Donnie Simpson is a Washington, D.C. radio, television, and movie personality. He hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show in morning drive for over 30 years. In 1988, Simpson was recognized as both the best (Top) radio personality and Top program director in the nation by Billboard Magazine, the world’s most influential music industry publication. He received both Billboard’s prestigious Radio Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year awards.
Simpson is known for his sultry voice, warm smile and piercing green eyes. He is the son of a record shop owner. Having been exposed to multiple genres of music, Simpson began his radio career at age 15 with WJLB in Detroit, MI where he remained for eight years. He relocated to Washington D.C. in 1977 where he began working at WRC-FM, now WKYS, as a DJ and program director. He remained with WKYS for 15 years through its format migration from Disco-based Rhythmic Contemporary Hits to Urban Contemporary in the 1980s. In 1981, Simpson landed his first television job on WRC-TV, hired as back-up anchor for the George Michael Sports Machine show on NBC’s Washington outlet. Soon after he hosted Video Soul, a music video show on BET and many other network specials. Simpson eventually hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show on WPGC-FM for 17 years. He left radio in 2010.
In 1983, Simpson was recruited by Robert L. Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television BET, to host the network’s primetime music video show, Video Soul. Simpson remained with the show until its cancellation in 1997. Over several decades, Simpson has hosted many network specials and tributes. He has interviewed well-known stars, including Stevie Wonder, Prince, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Usher, Jay-Z, Notorious BIG, Whitney Houston, Tupac, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Smokey Robinson, and many others. In 2004, Simpson was inducted into the BET Walk of Fame. In 2015, he was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, the only non-musician so honored at that point. On October 29, 2020, Donnie, along with six other honorees, was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in a live two-hour ceremony broadcast live on radio stations across the country.
Donnie retired in 2010, but returned to radio and TV on August 17, 2015, this time on WMMJ (a Radio One station based in D.C.) to host The Donnie Simpson Show. The show airs Monday through Friday from 3:00 to 7:00 pm on Majic 102.3 FM. On February 5, 2016, Donnie After Dark (hosted by Donnie Simpson) began airing on TV One. On January 9, 2021, Reach Media launched The Donnie Simpson Weekend Show, a two-hour syndicated program for adult R&B-formatted radio stations.
Donnie After Dark
|Donnie After Dark|
|Creative director||Bart Phillips|
|Presented by||Donnie Simpson|
|Theme music composer||
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company||Donnie Simpson Productions|
|Original network||TV One|
|Original release||February 5 –
December 18, 2016
Donnie After Dark is an American television late-night talk show hosted by Donnie Simpson, which premiered on TV One on February 5, 2016, and airs on Sunday’s at 11:00 p.m. EST.
The first Season of Donnie After Dark included two episodes which were taped at the Xen Lounge in Los Angeles, California. In addition to Donnie Simpson as the host, the regular cast included co-host DJ Traci Steele (of Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta), along with the show’s official house band—the all-girl Atlanta-based group “The GGs Band”.
The show’s debut episode aired on February 5, 2016 on TV One with guest appearances by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jazmine Sullivan, Lalah Hathaway, Kirk Franklin, and Tasha Smith. The second episode aired on June 1, 2016 with guest appearances by Kenny Lattimore, Tisha Campbell, Duane Martin, Danielle Nicolet, and Brandon T. Jackson. Donnie Simpson and Majic 102.3 held a viewing party of the second episode on June 1, 2016 at the SoBe Restaurant & Lounge in Lanham, Maryland.
The second season of Donnie After Dark was taped in Atlanta, Georgia with a live-studio audience in attendance, and included a total of 4 episodes. DJ Traci Steele returned as the co-host and social media expert, along with The GGs Band as the official house band.
Season 2 premiered on November 24, 2016, and included guest appearances by Angela Robinson, Pooch Hall, DC Young Fly, and a musical performance by Ro James. The guest list for the remaining episodes included: David Banner, Jamilah Lemieux, V. Bozeman, Jermaine Dupri, LisaRaye McCoy, Erica Ash, R&B group 112, Deontay Wilder, Naturi Naughton, comedian Tony Roberts, and Musiq Soulchild.
Icon, Living Legend, and Trailblazer
Donnie Simpson has been called an icon, trailblazer and a media legend. He is the ruling Washington D.C. radio icon, as well as an international television and movie personality. Over his career, which has spanned 50 years, he has entertained listeners from WJLB in Detroit to WKYS and WMMJ in Washington, and on television as host of BET’s Video Soul, and TV-One’s Donnie After Dark. He is considered one of the the nation’s first video jockeys.
He hosted The Donnie Simpson Morning Show in Morning Drive for over 30 years. In 1988, Donnie was recognized as both the best top radio personality and top program director in the nation by Billboard Magazine, the world’s most influential music industry publication. He received both Billboard’s prestigious Radio Personality of the Year and Program Director of the Year awards. These two distinguished awards placed Donnie in an elite group of nationally popular and highly respected Radio Personalities and Radio Station Program Directors that very few in the industry have been able to achieve. Certainly not both at the same time. Donnie’s consistent No. 1 ratings success and reputation have earned him “Icon” status among his peers and millions of fans worldwide.
He retired in 2010, but returned to radio and TV in 2015. This time, as the afternoon drive host on WMMJ, Majic 102.3 in Washington D.C., and nationally on TV-One with Donnie After Dark. On October 22, 2017, Donnie Simpson celebrated 40 years on D.C. radio with an All-Star gala at the Warner Theater. Donnie says the greatest compliment people give him is when they say “I feel like I know you.” He says, “They do know me. I’m the same dude all the time. 24/7, I’m Donnie.”
Where it all Began
His fans and friends who go back with him to his early beginnings in Detroit, call him “Love Bug.” His on-air moniker then was Donnie “The Love Bug” Simpson. Even then, Donnie was known for his sultry voice, warm smile, and piercing green eyes. His mother owned a record shop and Donnie says, “Working in that shop created a love of music from all genres.” Donnie began his radio career at age 15 with WJLB in Detroit, MI where he remained for eight years. In 1977, he relocated to Washington D.C., where he began working at WKYS. Donnie’s star shone brightly as he maintained an incredible run at the top of the ratings throughout his tenure in Morning Drive Radio. He remained with WKYS for 15 years, but left to join WPGC-FM in 1993, where he continued to captivate listeners for the next 17 years.
Donnie’s television career began in 1981, at WRC-TV, as back-up sports anchor for the George Michael Sports Machine. In 1983 he was recruited by Bob Johnson, founder of BET, to host the network’s primetime music video show, Video Soul. He remained with the show until 1997. On September 29, 2021, Donnie officially announced that Video Soul is back! From conversation to entertainment, Donnie Simpson’s Video Soul will keep its nostalgic essence while bridging the gap between generations with a variety of talent and performances.
Over several decades, Donnie has hosted many network specials and tributes. He has interviewed the biggest stars in the world, including Stevie Wonder, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Sting, Usher, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Madonna, Smokey Robinson, President Clinton, Tom Hanks, Barry White, and so many others. In 2004, Donnie was inducted into the BET Walk of Fame. In 2015, he was inducted into The R&B Music Hall of Fame. The only non-musician so honored at that point. And, on August 17, 2020, it was announced that Donnie will be inducted into The Radio Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Donnie Simpson Productions
The mission of Donnie Simpson Productions (DSP) is to deliver all that is desired, and more than is expected, in our creation and delivery of exceptional, authentic and compelling content that engages, entertains, and elevates everyone it represents.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||120 minutes|
|Original network||Black Entertainment Television (BET)|
|Original release||June 26, 1981 –
Video Soul is a 2–hour long American music video program that originally aired on The Black Entertainment Network (BET) from June 26, 1981 to September 1996. The program was devoted to showcasing R&B and Soul recording artists and performers music videos.
Video Soul premiered on June 26, 1981 and was originally a half-hour show. The show was created after MTV refused to play videos by most African American musicians, as MTV made the De Facto Colour policy effective. Both BET and Video Soul served as the place of refuge for new African American musical talent. The expanded 2-hour long Primetime version debuted on June 26, 1983 and aired from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Thursdays. A top 20 countdown aired Friday nights, 9–11 p.m. Eastern Time as well. Throughout the early-mid-1990s, until the show ended, it aired from 8 to 10 pm Eastern Time.
Virgil Hemphill was the original first host of the series, dubbing himself as the “Reverend Eldorado”. After Hemphill left the series, Donnie Simpson became the show’s most prominent veejay although he joined the show a few years after it premiered. Sherry Carter (who was also hosted BET’s Video LP, a half-hour-long video program) and Sheila Banks were the other hosts. Throughout its run, it was responsible for surprise guests, bringing groups/bands back together, memorable interviews, etc. A number of up-and coming artists had their first interview on Video Soul.
Donnie Simpson has plans to bring back the program in 2019 , it is unclear if it will be filmed in Washington D.C. like the original series .
Other Video Soul Formats
Video Soul Top-20 aired on Fridays, it showcased the hottest top-20 videos of the week. It would also be known as The Coca-Cola Video Soul Top-20 Countdown, as Coca-Cola became a sponsor of the show. Video Soul By Request was a two-hour long video block on Saturdays. This edition premiered in mid-1992. It showcased videos that were requested by viewers, who called a 1-900 number to request the video they wanted to hear. Throughout its run, Sherry Carter hosted unseen when she became a host for Video Soul in 1992.
- Donnie Simpson (1983–1996)
- Sherry Carter (1992–1996)
- Sheila Banks
- Kenya Moore
- Brett Walker (1994–1996)
- Leslie “Big Lez” Segar (1994–1995)
Donnie Simpson Announces Return of Video Soul; Big Tigger Teases Rap City ’21
‘I’ve been waiting to say this for 25 years now,’ wrote the longtime host and veteran radio personality in his announcement on social media
Given all the turbulence and turmoil of the last two years, I, like many of you, have been yearning for the days of yore, when things weren’t so *gestures wildly* .
Thankfully, it seems longtime radio personality Donnie Simpson will be helping to bring a piece of that old thang back. Vibe reports that on Wednesday, Simpson took to Twitter and Instagram to announce the return of his popular soul music show, Video Soul. For context, the highly popular show, hosted by Simpson and Sherry Carter, aired on BET from 1981 to the mid-’90s and featured interviews and performances from a variety of chart-topping R&B and soul performers.
“I can’t tell you how many people over the years have suggested that I bring it back,” Simpson captioned. “I told them I would and today it’s official. Donnie Simpson’s Video Soul is live and free on Tubi right now. (Link in bio) This is a huge day for me because it represents the first time I have ownership of my own show. I hope you’ll support it and spread the word. Thanks for your Love and encouragement. It means a lot Tubi…I mean to me. #Tubi #StreamFreely #donniesback #videosoul”
But wait—there’s more!
Per Complex, another popular BET show will be making its way back to fans. Popular radio personality and rapper Big Tigger also announced the return of Rap City, a show in which he previously hosted that boasted interviews and freestyles from some of the hottest artists in hip-hop.
“This is not a drill… This is not a throwback… #RapCity21 ‼️Details soon… #RapCityRaisedMe #ATL,” Big Tigg wrote in his announcement on social media.
While details for the upcoming reboot are scarce, BET and ViacomCBS had been apparently entertaining the idea for some years now. In addition to Big Tigg’s announcement, BET also posted a teaser online alluding to the popular show’s return.
While a premiere date for Rap City ’21 has not been set yet, you can watch the first six episodes of Video Soul now on Tubi.