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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Don Cornelius Soul Train defined generations of music lovers

Image by Pants Pants via Flickr
We lost a trailblazer in the African-American community today. Just to think about his ingenious idea of starting a music program that would promote the works of African-American artists, in fact, still amazes my mind.

Without this individual starting 41 years prior Soul Train, from its first airing in a small Chicago based studio on August 17, 1970I to this today wouldn't have shared many times in youth before floor model colored television with my brother, two sisters, Father and Mother forming a makeshift "Soul Train Line". 

Don Cornelius Soul Train defined the music I love for many decades. Whether we flashback my excitement of seeing Michael Jackson perform on the Soul Train stage with his brothers Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Marion and later Randy.

Or watching African-American staple of Rhythm and Blues music sung by singular artists Arthea Franklin, James Brown, TeenaMarie, Marvin GayePrince, Elton John, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Bobby Womack, Michael MacDonald or Stevie Wonder.

Let's not forget the groups who's music appeared on Don Cornelius Soul Train. When their songs come on the radio, I immediately turn up the volume on my drive to The O' Jays, The Temptations, The Whispers, Earth, Wind and Fire, L.T.D. featuring Jeffery Osborne, Frankie Beverly and MazeAtlantic Starr, The Gap Band, The Brothers Johnson and the list literally could go on and on as, Soul Train holds record of the longest running program aired on television (1970-2006).

As a young teenager moving into my early 20's Don Cornelius, although somewhat uncomfortable with the genre, bought the music which defined my Generation X: Rap/Conscience Hip-Hop. Thinking about Soul Train during a December day in 1987, I still remember the respectful way Mr. Cornelius greeted my favorite Conscience Hip-Hop group to this day, Public Enemy.

Even-though this wasn't the music rhythm nor style he grew up with, Mr. Cornelius respected my generations' need to listen to positive music promoting being Young, Black and Proud.

My thoughts reflect on a how Don Cornelius the entrepreneur, innovator and a man that prove he could change as music reinvented itself constantly; who not knowing me at all, touched my life.

Don Cornelius died today, February 1, 2012 at the age of 75 years young. Mr. Cornelius has been impacted for years, by a undisclosed illness that affected his speech during his last appearance at the Soul Train Awards in 2009.

Regardless he paid thanks to a number of artists during his visit to a show he invented in 1987, that gave talent awards to artists who many times ignored by the "regular" music industry, the Soul Train Awards.

Thank you Mr. Cornelius for giving us, music the music that defined my life. Rest in Peace, Love and Soul!

Video-Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius Dances the Famous "Soul Train Line" in with 'The Supreme's Mary Wilson in 1973 (Video Credit-The dktr)

Video-Soul Train Creator Don Cornelius Greets New Generation Conscience Hip-Hop Pioneers Public Enemy in 1987 (Video Credit-Global Image Works)

Video-Soul Train Award Creator Don Cornelius Thanks Artists Attending the 2009 Soul Train Awards Show (Video Credit-24 Wired TV & BET)


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