The SOUL Legacy

A Short Background of SOUL Newspaper

Below is a video by Kevin Jones interviewing Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Leonard Pitts, Jr. former editor of SOUL

“White Artists Selling Negro ‘Soul’ ”

The first feature headline of SOUL Newspaper was anything but subtle.  When my grandfather, Los Angeles news reporter Ken Jones, conceptualized SOUL he not only wanted to showcase Black entertainers, but to report all sides of the news to their fans.  This was a time when there was little to no information widely available on many of the Black artists well known today for their enormous contributions to the music genre.  Black music was selling but nobody knew who these people were and for the most part, the record companies didn’t really care.

Aided by KGFJ Radio and based out of Los Angeles, California, SOUL started out as a weekly publication.  They received on air radio promotion from KGFJ in exchange for advertisement space for the station in the paper.  10,000 copies of the first issue were printed and in under a week they were sold out.  Within a year SOUL was in 30 major cities, expanded from eight to 16 pages long and now ran twice a month.  Other publications began using SOUL as a primary news source, sales of the paper were on the rise and most artists’ managers had reprints of SOUL featuring their clients as part of their portfolios.

SOUL expanded in 1968 and created SOUL Illustrated, a music news magazine with in-depth feature articles, full color pictures, comics, music, movie and television reviews.

For 13 years SOUL continued to bring the stories of Black musicians, artists, writers, politicians, actors comedians and entertainers to the forefront.  Entertainers like Diana Ross, The Jackson Five, James Brown, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Little Richard, Pam Grier and Sam Cooke graced the covers of the publication multiple times and their fans across the country ran to get SOUL to be in the know.

With bold original articles, amazing photos and a dedicated staff SOUL Newspaper was a crucial publication not only for its readers but for the artists it featured.  Former contributors to SOUL’s success have gone on to become highly recognizable names.  To name a few:

Writer, syndicated columnist, Pulitzer Prize recipient Leonard Pitts, Jr., writer editor Steven Ivory, Los Angeles Times writers Mike Terry, Connie Johnson, Rochelle Smith, J. Randy Taraborrelli, photographers Bruce Talamon, Bobby Holland, Erik Whitaker, and Howard Bingham who believed in SOUL and took Ken and Regina under his wing, providing them with photos to run in the paper for free while he freelanced for other publications.

27 years after the last issue was published the legacy of SOUL continues. Regina Jones, the Backbone of SOUL and long time publisher recently donated near complete sets of SOUL Newspapers to University of California, Los Angeles and Indiana University.  Compilation books of past SOUL issues are also currently in the works.  I have been working for the past year to organize and archive past issues and to bring the publication back to as many people as possible.  SOUL was not only important to my family but to the families of many and the preservation of “OURstory” is imperative to our progression.


2 Comments so far
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i remember kgfj there was only one other greaT RADIO STATION 103.9 BUT NONE MORE

Comment by DEBORAH

Remembering an old friend and a very kind woman. Judith Spiegelman. Hope you are well, I know it’s been a long time. If by the grace of God you are still alive, please contact me at

Comment by Dell Chapple

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