America’s Black History Month kicked off with some saddening news. Reportedly, Don Cornelius, the mastermind of the legendary show Soul Train, was found dead in his L.A. home on the morning of February 1. The cause of death is still being investigated.
We all owe a debt a gratitude to this man because he gave Black people something on television every Saturday morning that you don’t see today: Good Clean Fun!
Remember the episode of The Cosby Show when Theo and Cockroach wanted to make it on Dance Mania to dance with Tina? Well, as a little boy I wanted to be on Soul Train at least one time, solve the Soul Train Scramble Board, do a spilt in the Soul Train Line and shake Cornelius’ hand. This show set fashion trends. We would move the living room furniture just to practice the dance moves.
I never made it on the show, but we used to do makeshift Soul Train shows at the local skating rink on the North side of Houston. And what Black birthday party or wedding can you go to today and not find one person starting the electric slide or the Soul Train Line? It has become an unbreakable tradition.
Starting back in 1971, Soul Train was launched, produced and hosted by Cornelius. The show featured performances by countless great Black music artists such as James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Sly and The Family Stone, The Isley Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield and more .
It is said to be the "longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history.” This was and is Black history. Check out the video promo reel below.
Thank you Don Cornelius. "We Wish You Love, Peace... and SOOOOOUUUUUL!"
(Follow Brother Jesse Muhammad on Twitter @BrotherJesse)