Tribute: Don Cornelius 1936 – 2012

February 14, 2012

what could i possibly say about this man but the obvious?!  he was a genius, a lover of music and of the black community!

born and raised on the southside of chicago, he was a couragious man who believed in his dreams and went for it with his then wife, and 2 sons.  after serving in the marines and being an officer with the chicago police department as well as working several jobs in the automotive field, Don had $400 to his name and a dream but still landed a job as an announcer and disk jockey for a local radio station. 

in 1967, Don later joined a local Chicago television station hosting a show by the name of A Black’s View of the News.  Little did anyone know, he would later create a show that would give the black community something they could relate to in music and in dance as well as televisions longest syndicated music program.  The Soul Train also known as The Sooooouuuullllll Train! 

how did this impact my childhood?!  in a major way!  every Saturday afternoon, my eyes were glued to the television trying to catch a glimpse at every soul train dancer and excited about what dance routine they would put on that day!  my all time favorite soul train dancer was the asian lady with the long hair [cheryl song].  i would wrap a towel or pillow case around my head and swing it back and forth imitating her dance moves.  i mean, homegirl could dance [atleast by 70’s and 80’s standards!]  Lol!  I later found out that not only was she a favorite amongst others, her fame got her a feature in Rick James video “Super Freak” and MJ’s “Beat it” video. 

besides the dancing, i looked forward to who would appear on the show weekly and was never disappointed.  during my time, that was everyone from Jody Watley and Luther Vandross to New Edition and Naughty By Nature.  For some like Rosie Perez, it was a launch pad for their career.   

Another element i loved about soul train and probably most importantly, was how Don made it his business to incorporate a little fun way of learning black history facts with the message board.  it was always exciting trying to figure it out before the people actually putting it together, even though recently i found out they were given the answers in advance to not look like complete idiots never figuring out the puzzle.  Lol!

I say all this to say, Don Cornelius was another gem amongst black americans.   a legend!  he made an unforgettable impression on lives and stamped the famous quote, “And You Can Bet Your Last Money, It’s Gonna Be A Stone Gas, Honey!” along with the soul train dance line that never misses a family reunion, birthday party, or just a social gathering amongst blacks.  i am blessed to be able to say, i lived in an era Soul Train was around and jammin’.  there was once an attempt to be replicate it but it can never be duplicated.

and with this all being said, Don Cornelius, “we wish you peace, love and soul.”



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