James DuBose is an American television producer, filmmaker, and entertainment industry executive. He currently serves as the head of programming and executive producer of Fox Soul, a new digital streaming service dedicated to the African American community.
DuBose’s success and good fortune have enabled him the freedom to create, enjoy, and share his unique brand of quality programming. BLACK ENTERPRISE sat down with the TV executive to chat about building Fox Soul and elevating Black voices.
BE: Tell us about Fox Soul and the inspiration behind creating the streaming digital television network?
DuBose: Fox Soul is Fox’s first live and interactive OTT (over-the-top media) service dedicated to the Black community. The inspiration was to build a platform that truly allows the voices of the culture to be heard in its rawest, unfiltered form. The main issue I have seen within this space is Black people never really had a voice or seat at the table. Fox owns and funds Fox Soul, but there are Black minds making the decisions from top to bottom regarding Fox Soul and our culture, and I am inspired by this fact on a daily basis.
As the head of programming, how important is it to develop content that not only tells our stories but impacts the Black community and culture?
Everyone has a voice and a story. I believe the community is better served when those voices and stories can be heard and appreciated beyond the privacy of our homes. Our purpose for existing is to provide that platform. It’s very important that we develop content that entertains, educates, and inspires. We must continue to showcase all the great attributes that we have as a culture. We aim to celebrate our rhythms and our blues through our content.
What were some challenges faced during the pandemic with ensuring the network’s ability to continue producing content that would inspire, uplift, and keep viewers entertained?
First, the pandemic was very difficult for so many in many different ways, and my prayers are for everyone to bounce back better and stronger than before. Now, we were operating out of our studio prior to the pandemic and were forced to shut down for about two weeks. The team spent that time brainstorming on how to continue to grow the network, as we were only a few months into Fox Soul at that point. The technology allowed us to produce the shows from home via Zoom; it actually allowed us to expand our reach and footprint during this time. Our guests didn’t have to be in Los Angeles in order to be on the shows any longer. This allowed us to have the guests we really wanted and needed no matter where they were in the world. The viewers could still interact in real-time with our hosts and shows as we continue to stay true to our mission of being live and interactive where you hear and see our voices and our truth. Moving forward, we will probably operate in some sort of hybrid of studio and in a virtual setting.
Fox Soul has attracted and features quite the celebrity host lineup. Can we expect any shows and content from some emerging talent and creators?
We are always looking for talent, established or emerging, that brings a real voice and perspective to the network. I have tried to shorten the traditional greenlight process that so many Black creators find difficult when it comes to getting their work produced. We are very blessed in the fact that agents, creators, etc., are looking at Fox Soul as a viable destination for content creators. As we continue to build and grow, we are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to finding the right talent and stories that speak to the culture.
What content can viewers expect for the upcoming season?
We are developing our first music competition show now. We are getting into the crime space, the travel and lifestyle space. We are also continuing to do strategic content partnerships with other Black outlets similar to what we have now with Black Enterprise. We want to have something for everyone in the household for this upcoming season.
For more information and programming, visit foxsoul.tv to be a part of the experience. Original programming airs weeknights, starting at 7 p.m. EST.