2021 Soul Train Awards to Be Taped at New York’s Apollo Theater

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The 2021 Soul Train Awards will be taped at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem on Nov. 20, marking the first time the show has been based in New York in its 34-year history. The show has aired from venues in the Los Angeles area (1987-2007), Atlanta (2009-11) and Las Vegas (2012-19); the 2020 show was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Soul Train Awards premieres Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on BET and BET Her.

The show will salute the 50th anniversary of Soul Train television program, which debuted on Oct. 2, 1971. When the final episode aired in 2006, it was the longest running first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history. The awards show, which launched in 1987, recognizes the best in soul, R&B and hip hop.

“Don Cornelius’ brilliant vision created a revolutionary show that became a cornerstone in American culture,” said Connie Orlando, BET’s EVP specials, music programming and music strategy, in a statement that honored the show’s iconic late host, who helmed the program from its founding until 1993. “Fifty years later, the Soul Train Awards continues to amplify his powerful message of love, peace and soul to a global audience. We are honored to be a part of the Soul Train legacy and partner with the national treasure that is the Apollo to celebrate Black excellence and
culture.”

“The Apollo has long been a center of Black cultural and creative innovation for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world,” said Apollo executive producer Kamilah Forbes in a statement. “It has provided a platform for Black artists at all stages of their careers, and a gathering place for audiences to express themselves freely. The Apollo is thrilled to partner with BET to host the Soul Train Awards, bringing together three iconic brands that represent Black culture and excellence under one roof.”

Orlando will oversee the show, with Jamal Noisette to co-executive produce for BET. Jesse Collins, CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, will serve as executive producer, along with Jeannae Rouzan–Clay, a top executive at that company.

The 2020 Soul Train Awards took place on Nov. 29, 2020, with actors Tisha Campbell & Tichina Arnold hosting for the third time. The nominations were announced on Nov. 11. H.E.R. led with eight nods, followed by Chris Brown with seven. Monica was honored with the Lady of Soul Award for her contributions to the music industry.

Cornelius died by suicide in 2012 at age 75, but Soul Train’s legacy lives on. BET acquired the brand in 2016.

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