Today we have lost and icon and pioneer. Don Cornelius died today from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head. He was 75 years old. I can’t believe that Don Cornelius is dead. The fact that he left us so tragically makes the loss even worse. I hate knowing that his suffering, whether mental, physical or both, was so great that he felt the need to take his own life; that he didn’t see another way out. It is all so sad.
Don has contributed so much to entertainment, and not only black culture, but pop culture. He opened the door for black artists by giving them a place where they could belong and share their gifts with the world, and he created where young African-Americans could come dance and have a great time. He made being black cool at a time when we were still struggling to get our footing in entertainment and the world. Without him we wouldn’t be where we are in music today. He gave us a stage to showcase our talent. What he has done for us is nothing short of remarkable.
Before there was MTV, TRL, BET and 106 & Park there was Soul Train. I’m not old enough to know what it was like when it first started. I wasn’t even alive yet. But I remember watching it almost every Saturday as a child. I even got to see some episodes when Don was still hosting. Soul Train was a big part of my childhood. I remember how my cousins and I used to do the “Soul Train” line! We use to have so much fun. We even use to do our own version of the Soul Train Scramble board.
Who doesn’t know about the Soul Train line? Especially in the black community? It’s a black staple. Ask any African-American familiar with Soul Train. We do Soul Train lines at Wedding parties, Birthday parties, Graduation parties. If there’s a celebration going on were all going to do the Soul Train line right along with the Electric Slide 🙂 I have so many fond memories of Soul Train. It was great.
I remember seeing New Edition, Janet Jackson (my favorite recording artist after her brother Michael!), though I was still very young. I remember when Bell Biv Devoe performed for the first time, 3T, Mary J. Blige, Destiny’s Child and so many others. Every time you watched the show, and later the awards shows, you knew you were going to have a good time.
It’s all so very sad. I pray that he is with the Lord and at peace. Let’s not whittle his life down to this one tragic moment, and have it become about how tragic his leaving us has been. Let’s celebrate his life,legacy and accomplishments. He’s done so many great things for black people. So let’s take the time to remember Don Cornelius the man, on this day Wednesday February 1, 2012, that’s not only the day of his death, but the first day of Black History Month and remember his contribution to black entertainment and the world.
Please take a moment to comment and leave your favorite Soul Train memories. Let’s celebrate Don Cornelius’ life and his legacy. Also scroll down to view a few performances from Soul Train back in the day, and comment on your memories of them. All copyrights are owned by their respective owners. God bless you all. Enjoy.
Haneefah Turner Copyright © 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Here is are two performances from Janet Jackson on Soul Train from March 29, 1986 of “Control” and “What Have You Done For Me Lately”. The quality isn’t that great. But enjoy anyway! 🙂
The Jackson 5 performing “All I Do Is Think of You”
Michael Jackson performing “With A Childs Heart”
Michael Jackson on the 1993 Soul Train Awards “Remember The Time”
New Edition “If It Isn’t Love”
Mary J. Blige “My Life”
En Vogue on Soul Train Awards “Don’t Let Go”
Teena Marie and Rick James “Sucker For Your Love”
Destiny’s Child from the Soul Train Awards “Survivor”
Don Cornelius: You Will Be Missed
Tagged 3T, Bell Biv Devoe, Black Culture, Black Entertainment, Black History, Black Music, Celebrate, Celebration, Commemorate, Death, Destiny's Child, Don Cornelius, Entertainment, Jackson 5, Janet Jackson, Legacy, Life, Mary J. Blige, Michael Jackson, Music, New Edition, Pop Culture, Suicide, The Jacksons, Tribute. Bookmark the permalink.