The legendary Soul Train Awards, presented by BET, is back with a star-studded evening celebrating Black entertainment and the power of music and culture on Saturday, Nov. 26.
Deon Cole, Emmy-nominated comedian, actor, and writer, will be bringing the laughter as host of this year’s 2022 Soul Train Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. His presence onstage during Soul and R&B’s biggest night is a special opportunity to honor Don Cornelius’ legacy and all of the Black talent showcased on the iconic TV show.
For the Black-ish star, his early memories of Soul Train were empowered by the groundbreaking commercials represented by Black people during the 1970s.
“Those are the very first commercials that I saw that represented me. And that’s why it stuck in my head. I’m like, ‘Oh. I look like him. He acts like me. We the same,’” ColE told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
Fast forward, Cole is the mastermind behind the pen, lending his writing expertise to previous Soul Train Awards hosts, including Wendy Williams and Erykah Badu. It’s a full circle moment now that he has the privilege to rock the mic.
“I used to write for the Soul Train Awards, so that’s kind of surreal to me,” Cole said. “And writing for them, I just always sat there and thought to myself, ‘This is what I would do if I was a host.’ And so, when the opportunity came around I was like, ‘Man, locked and loaded. Let’s go.’”
The comedic genius himself is expected to bring his unique skills in between the heavy hitting lineup of performances.
“I just bring the funny, man. That’s what it’s all about, bringing the funny, keeping it fun, not being afraid to fail, using those failures as funny moments, and just keeping it real,” Cole explained.
“What’s one thing about Black people? You can’t be fake with them. You got to be real with them. They going to know. And so, when it comes to funny, that’s what I try to do. I try to stay grounded, try to stay in a pocket where we could all relate together. And that’s what I think I did with this.”
Ahead of the awards, Cole returned to Netflix to remind us of the golden age of comedy in his second and latest stand-up special “Charleen’s Boy.” Dedicated to his late mother, Charleen Cole, the special wholeheartedly embraces her memory with the opening of a raw conversation between the two. Cole also acknowledges the “50 Club” who continue to move and shake despite the loss of their parents.
“My mom lives through me, and that was my whole reason for dedicating the special to her,” Cole said. “I shot it on the day she passed, a year later, when I wasn’t supposed to, but I had to because that was the only date they had available.”
“And so I dedicated it, and I felt like she did it and she made me go, ‘Don’t mourn. Go out there and make people happy.’ And that’s what I did. And I just feel like she will forever live on, right now.”
In light of his accomplishments, Cole encourages others to stay true to themselves.
“You got to look in the mirror every morning. And the one thing that’s going to make you un-fireable is you,” he said. “Once you apply yourself to it, makes you un-fireable, it makes you different, it makes you unique, and they can’t do what you do. Stop going out there being what they want you to be, and just being this and just being that. You put yourself in it so they can’t get rid of you.”