TV One’s longest-running, award-winning popular series, "Unsung," will launch its 11th season on a brand new night with a dynamic new line-up of music and stories of perseverance, determination and success told through first-hand accounts of the artists who experienced them.
Beginning with a double-feature on Sunday, July 9, the series will profile Wyclef on Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET, followed by the story of Jagged Edge at 10 p.m. ET. Additionally, new episodes featuring Marvin Sapp, Switch, The Dramatics, Shanice, and Ice-T, airing in the show’s new Sunday time slot of 10 p.m. ET, will highlight each performer’s rise to stardom while providing a glimpse into the lesser-known challenges they endured behind the spotlight.
“From Classic R&B to Hip Hop and Gospel, 'Unsung' is known for offering music lovers an in-depth behind-the-scenes view into the lives of their favorite performers as heard from the artists themselves and the friends and family who know them best,” says TV One President Brad Siegel. “We are moving the series to Sunday nights to allow more of our viewers a chance to wind down their summer weekends with an evening of inspiring music to take you down memory lane. This is an exciting line-up of fascinating entertainers that you won’t want to miss.”
Through first-hand accounts, interviews with family and friends, and archival footage, each episode of TV One’s signature series weaves a tale of the highs and lows of a life in the limelight, offering poignant stories that provide insight into the trials and triumphs faced in both private and public forums.
TV One’s upcoming new episodes of "Unsung" are outlined below.
Premiere: Sunday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET
Wyclef Jean is a Haitian born, multi-talent who skyrocketed to fame with his group, The Fugees, in the late ‘90s. Along with fellow Haitian Pras Michel and songstress Lauryn Hill, the trio broke records with their critically acclaimed sophomore album, “The Score,” which became a multi-platinum, Grammy-winning hit. When romance troubles between Wyclef and Lauryn forced them to disband, many thought Wyclef would fade into obscurity. Instead, he succeeded in his own career with hits like “We’re Trying to Stay Alive” and “’Gone Till November,” while becoming a sought-after writer/ producer for acts like Destiny’s Child, Mary J. Blige, Shakira and Carlos Santana. Insights from family and friends are provided by Kurtis Blow, Claudette Ortiz, and DJ Red Alert.
-- JAGGED EDGE
Premiere: Sunday, July 9 at 10 p.m. ET
From choirboys to R&B superstars, the melodic harmonies of Jagged Edge dominated the early 2000s with back-to-back number one hits and two double platinum albums. Comprised of twin brothers Brian and Brandon Casey, along with Kyle Norman and Richard Wingo, the quartet emerged from the suburbs of Atlanta under the production of Jermaine Dupri’s SoSo Def Records. With hit ballads “I Gotta Be,” "Let’s Get Married," and “Promise," Jagged Edge’s music focused on spreading the message of love. But after cutting ties with Dupri, the love dissipated in more ways than one as they struggled to stay on the charts and contemplated going separate ways. Insights from family and friends are provided by Q. Parker, Tiny Harris, Kandi Burruss Tucker, Bryan Michael Cox, LaTavia Roberson, Michael Mauldin, Marcus Chapman, The Poetess and Jermaine Dupri.
-- MARVIN SAPP
Premiere: Wednesday, July 16 at 10 p.m. ET
With one of the most unique voices in gospel music, Marvin Sapp has been spreading the Gospel through song for over three decades. His powerful mix of old-school sensibilities and new school swagger led him to dominate the gospel charts in the 2000s with seven Top 10 hits including the #1 songs, “Never Would’ve Made It,” “The Best in Me” and “My Testimony.” The Midwestern pastor’s music resonated beyond the pulpit, often being played on mainstream radio and even landing on the Billboard R&B and Hot 100 charts. But Sapp’s faith would be tested on several occasions - from illness, to personal attacks, to the tragic death of his wife, MaLinda, to colon cancer. Insights from family and friends are provided by Kirk Franklin, Byron Cage, Donald Lawrence, Dorinda Clark Cole, Aundrae Russell, Tyrone DuBose and Fred Hammond.
Premiere: Sunday, July 23 at 10 p.m. ET
With their distinctive blend of Ohio-Funk, smoothed-out harmonies and soulful lyrics Switch, the multi-talented, multi-instrumental Midwestern powerhouse band burst onto the black music scene as newcomers to the legendary Motown roster in the mid-70s. Led by the “Father of the Falsetto,” Bobby DeBarge, Switch paved the way for the hit-making DeBarge family with sensual ballads that injected Motown with a fresh sound after the departure of The Jackson 5. But despite raw talent and endless potential, Switch was doomed from the start. While their lead singer battled inner demons of childhood abuse and sexual orientation, the entire group struggled with various addictions, and infighting and egos brought their brotherhood to a bitter and premature end. Now, Unsung examines their rise and swift fall. Insights from family and friends are provided by Greg Williams, Jody Sims, Tommy DeBarge, Phillip Ingram, Marcus Chapman, Margena Christian and El DeBarge.
-- THE DRAMATICS
Premiere: Sunday, July 30 at 10 p.m. ET
Through the ‘70s, The Dramatics took the five-man vocal group to another level by seamlessly mixing powerful and piercing lead vocals with silky harmonies. The group’s choreography, performed at breakneck speed with moves tailored to each song, made every concert unforgettable. Working with rising star Tony Hester, writer and producer of every track on the group’s first two albums, The Dramatics peppered the charts with top 10 hits, including classics, “Whatcha See is Whatcha Get” and “In the Rain.” Unfortunately, group in-fighting and tragedy derailed The Dramatics’ train to superstardom. But a surprising collaboration with rap icon Snoop Dogg gave The Dramatics new life. On this episode of Unsung, surviving members, family, friends, and fellow artists come together to tell the remarkable story of this aptly named group, including Cedric “The Entertainer,” LJ Reynolds, Larry “Squirrel” Demps, Willie Ford, Marcus Chapman, and Snoop Dogg.
Premiere: Sunday, August 6 at 10 p.m. ET
Shanice exploded on the worldwide stage in the early ‘90s with four simple words – “I Love Your Smile.” Her 1991 #1 hit single landed in the Top 10 in 22 different countries. Known for a five-octave range and a signature smile that went with her most famous song, Shanice found success on both the Pop and R&B charts with songs like “Silent Prayer”, “When I Close My Eyes” and “Saving Forever For You,” from the popular “Beverly Hills 90210” soundtrack. In this candid episode of Unsung featuring her husband, actor Flex Alexander, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shamicka Lawrence, and Ricky Bell of New Edition, Shanice opens up about her life as a child star, her heartbreaking struggles in the music business, and the moment when she and her family lost it all.
Premiere: Sunday, August 13 at 10 p.m. ET
Known as one of the original gangster rappers, Ice T’s hardcore lyrics about life on the streets of South Central LA set the tone for the genre and made him an icon. Ice’s music would inspire a new generation of artists like Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, The Game and more. Songs like “6 In The Mornin” and “Colors” are classic portraits of gangs, girls and guns. But while many of his peers were simply about misogyny, Ice’s music had a layered moral message: Don’t repeat this behavior or you might end up in jail or a casket. With a no-nonsense style and larger than life persona, Ice has lived nine lives: pimp, bank robber, DJ, army officer, con-man and even award-winning actor and producer. Now, one of the greatest rappers ever finally gets his props. Insights from family and friends are provided by Ice Cube, Busy Bee, Marcus Chapman, Ife Kiara and Perry Farrell.
"Unsung" is narrated by actor Gary Anthony Williams and is Executive Produced by Arthur Smith and Frank Sinton of A. Smith & Co. Productions. Mark Rowland is Executive Producer. For TV One, Jubba Seyyid is Executive in Charge of Production and Sr. Director of Programming; Robyn Arrington Greene is Vice President, Original Programming and Production; and D'Angela Proctor is Head of Original Programming and Production.