Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Don Cornelius Put Future African American Baby Boomers on the Dance Map

If you're an African-American baby boomer, you grew up with Don Cornelius and the Soul Train gang.

I was 14-years-old when the show made its debut. Before that I was a fan of American Bandstand and a local dance show out of Cleveland, OH---even though there were very few black faces.

I remember how excited I was to see people who looked like me on Soul Train dancing to the music I heard on the radio. Hearing my hometown music heroes, The O'Jays, singing the theme song and seeing someone I knew from high school dancing on the show kept me glued to my TV set every Saturday at noon.

Don Cornelius and Soul Train not only showcased the big stars, but we were also introduced to the up and coming talent and the blue-eyed soul of acts like Hall and Oates and Average White Band.

Who could forget the soul train scramble board or the dance line, where everyone became a star with their own unique style of dance? Soul Train became so popular at one point that some whites started complaining that they were being discriminated against because none of them were represented on the show.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Soul Train became the longest-running first-run nationally syndicated show in television history, bringing African American music and style to the world for 35 years.

Soul Train put future African-American baby boomers on the dance map in a mighty big way. I am sad to learn of the death of Don Cornelius but as he would say, "I'm Don Cornelius, and as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and SOOOOOUL!


Anna Tisdale said...

Words canot express my sadness concerning Don Cornelious for if you were a teenager in Texas one of the biggest highlights on Sat morning was watching soul train it open many doors for our Africian Amercian people,and I am grateful for his legacy for he will never be forgotten.

Anita Johnson said...

Really nice tribute, Bev. Thank you for helping us to vividly remember one of the sweet historic highlights of our youth.

Don Cornelius' pioneering vision and accomplishments served to connect us in ways we all understand . . . music that moves our souls to dance.

May God Bless Him and Bring Peace to His Family, Friends and Fans

Virginia said...

Can I be a blond haired--well used to be--blue-eyed African American lover of Soul Train. So much better than Am Bandstand which I hated.

Visit at

Karen said...

Mr. Cornelius' son, Tony Cornelius, is carrying on his father's legacy.