"Soul!" put Black culture on the TV map at a time when it hadn't really been done before ... and if you've never heard of the first Black variety show on American television, well, it's an amazing story about an openly gay Black host who trailblazed in so many ways in the '60s.
Melissa Haizlip was on "TMZ Live" Thursday ... she produced an amazing documentary about her uncle, Ellis Haizlip, who hosted "Soul!," the PBS show from 1968 to 1973.
Ellis's show became a platform for political expression and social justice at a time when civil rights and the Vietnam War were front and center in America.
It's pretty amazing ... when Ellis hosted the show homosexuality was illegal in many states, and homophobia was rampant. He even had Louis Farrakhan as a guest, and confronted him over his condemnation of homosexuality.
The doc, "Mr. Soul!," is riveting ... and it's no wonder why it's already getting Oscar-worthy buzz. It drops Sunday on HBO Max.