When you mention the name Don Cornelius amongst the Black community, there is no need for an introduction. For those who are unfamiliar with Don Cornelius, he was the writer and producer of the nationally syndicated dance and music show Soul Train.
Soul Train was formed because Don noticed in the late 60’s that there weren’t any television shows geared towards Black artists and soul music. With the creation of Soul Train, soul and funk artists could showcase their talents.
Prior to Soul Train, Black people were limited to occasionally performing on TV as guests on White programs. All that changed with Don’s creation of Soul Train. Soon, White audiences started to tune into Soul Train and it’s popularity skyrocketed. Eventually, Soul Train would even showcase White artists whose music was centered around soul, funk and R&B.
I loved watching Soul Train as a child because I loved seeing some of the artists I grew up listening to perform live. And who can forget the infamous Soul Train line and those Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen commercials? Ultra Sheen and Afro Sheen played a part in Don’s Black is Beautiful campaign.
Listening to Don talk with his nicely shaped afro and smooth deep voice was a treat. I could listen to him talk all day. One of my favorite parts of Soul Train is when it was ending and Don would say: “I’m Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!”
With all the success and positivity that Soul Train brought to the Black community, it saddens many how Don Cornelius’s life ended. Don suffered with seizures, battled Alzheimer’s and his health steadily declined. He was in constant pain the last 15 years of his life and unfortunately he decided to end his life.
Soul Train will always be one of those shows that is cherished amongst the Black community because it was a show where Black people were portrayed in a good way. It also showed people how to have fun, dance and get down!
The next time you are on YouTube, search for it. It’ll have you smiling and dancing before you know it. 👌🏾
To listen to a brief catchy remix of the theme song, click here.
Until next time…love, peace and soul!