Soul Cities: Take a Tour of Black America


The best way to find out about a subject is to jump in and drill down, right? Travelers know that the “drill down” part is the most fun when visiting various locales. You can’t get a full taste of New York or Paris by hanging at the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower – you’ve gotta get to where the people actually live and the culture is created.

Nelson George created Soul Cities with that in mind. For the next several weeks VH1 Soul is airing a string of episodes that finds the author, screenwriter, and music critic roaming through six of a the hippest towns in the U.S., including New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago, L.A., and the Bay Area. He creates a portrait of the artistic, cultural, and political vibe that help define each location.

Philadelphia is first (the show premieres Tuesday, November 11 at 9 pm ET on VH1 Soul). George chats with Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff about classic Philly R&B, swings by Geno’s to wolf a cheese steak, drops into Ms Tootsies soul food restaurant for an interview with LaBelle, talks politics and music with ?uestlove from the Roots, browses the ultimate R&B record store, and lots more.

Check our music video playlist of R&B artists associated with Philly.

Facebook fiends should check out the photos associated to each episode that live on George’s profile page.

For another glimpse into his world head to his Web site.

Check the specific addresses of the Philly sites after the jump.

Here are places Nelson visited in PHILADELPHIA

Philadelphia, PA

325 Chestnut St.
hiladelphia, PA

1219 South 9th St
Philadelphia, PA

2240 North Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19132

435 Spring Garden St
Philadelphia, PA 19123



49 Garrett Road
Upper Darby, PA 19082

PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS (where Gamble & Huff intvw takes place)
309 S Broad St
Upper Darby, PA 19107

PAUL ROBERSON MURAL (painted mural)
4502 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA

JULIUS ERVING MURAL (painted mural)
Ridge Ave
Philadelphia, PA

Vine St
Philadelphia, PA

2032 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA

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  1. jilly says:

    Well, I remembered I have seen a man on looks like him very much, his username is jackielee.

  2. jilly says:

    where is my post?

  3. Michael says:

    Everyone should check this out fro mPlatinum Rush Music

  4. halfamazing says:

    So it’s like MTV’s My Block but not limited to hip-hop? Original!

  5. taytay says:

    wat that is yall chance i think you should pick rabit

  6. JJ says:

    VH1 – Thank you for this wonderful show!! We don’t get a lot of Soul or R&B out here in Medford, OR. If you ever make it out here… we have ONE BBQ/Blues place and ONE spot that plays jazz once a week. Couldn’t make it without you, VHI1SOUL! Nelson’s great! Love all the segments! Keep it coming!!

  7. Bob smith says:

    what about other cities how could you over look; NYC, Newark NJ, Telodo, Cleveland and Cincianati OH, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Austin TX, Kansas City?

  8. Soulrific says:

    Yes, definitely add Cleveland and Cincinnati to the list.

  9. Sandy from Philly says:

    What an awewome show! It’s informative and engaging. It’s filled with so much artistic, cultural, and culinary soul that I find myself watching the repeats – not sure wheter to dance, sing, or eat. Wish it could be longer — 30 minutes is certainly not enuf!! The episdoe for Philadelphia could have been longer, as there is so much talent here!!

    Nelson George is the ideal host for the show!! Yo Nelson — you’ve found your niche!! Do your thang boy and keep bringing it!

  10. Rhasody Harris says:

    Uh! excuse me Nelson but why didnt you include Detroit in one of those Soul city episodes. You know Detroit took soul where it’s never been. What you scared to come here or something? The majority of Detroiters are very warm and would welcome you with open arms. Do you have any say in those types of decisions? I mean really, if you can find enough good shots in places like New Orleans to do an entire show, you certainly can come up to the “D”.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Thank You….Thank YOU….My friend’s and I are headed to Philadelphia this weekend en route to DC and loved the show. Our dilemma: we didn’t write down any of the places when we watched the show. Thanks soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much for posting them.

    Obama Forever!

  12. Will says:

    I love the show but how can you do Philly and not mention Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes? or did I miss that part?

  13. A.HighTower says:

    I’m obviously a Bostonian….u will see clearly as I go forward. -That said, I have sat thru “Soul Cities” -Chicago and Philadelphia AT LEAST 3 times each….but I have yet to see a Soul Cities Boston….I know, I know…Boston is a city big on Irish mafia,baseball, hockey and big Hollywood’s idea of “Beantown” (ie The Departe, Fever Pitch and Mystic River movies…) but I challenge VH1 to look to me to show you the soulful side of Boston. We have historically black record stores, events,radio stations,comedy venues and people with a deep soulful side that I feel has yet to be acknowledged…feel free to reach out me to and i will be all but TOO happy to show you guys each aspect of Boston Soul. -I look forward to hearing from you soon. -Alexis HighTower

  14. ed butler says:

    There is a powerful soul movmement in Europe and in particular Switzerland. Iknow this because my daughter lives in Zurich and makes her living playing music there with 5 different bands. I would like to suggest that Nelson consider a road trip to see what is happening to the music and the people who play it there.


  15. Gale says:

    what happened to my favorite VH1 soul station? i called my local cable company and was told that it no longer existed and that a new program called “Centrie” took it’s place. please, if you have any type of control in bringing this station back in my area (94702) then please do. i watch this station everyday, it’s only been gone for 1 day and i already miss it :(. i watch the regular VH1 station as well. is there any way that you could put the same music videos from VH1 soul into the regular VH1 station? (maybe saturdays in the evenings) unless the new station (Centrie) will continue with your programing.

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