Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Hippest Trip in America

Love, peace, and Soul
Black Is Beautiful
Phrases often recited by Entrepreneur, Former Disc Jockey, Executive Producer, and Television Producer Don Cornelius

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On October2, 1971 Don Cornelius came to the scene with his musical variety television show "Soul Train" featuring dance routines, performances from many African-American artists but also introduced "Blue Eyed Soul" recording artist such as Teena Marie, David Bowie, Average White Band, just to name a few. Don's goals was show positive images of Black people he also included interviews with activist such as Rev. Jesse Jackson.

The very first program featured artists such as Jerry Butler, The Chi-Lites, and the Emotions. After immediate success the show would relocate to Los Angeles from Chicago. Johnson's Production Company also the same people that manufactured  the Afro-Sheen line of hair care products agreed to sponsor the program into national syndication.

By the end of its first season Soul Train was number one in seventeen markets.

Every Saturday the Soul Train audience (mostly African-Americans) enjoyed watching the show for the fashion, music, dancing, guest star appearances. My parents have told me fond memories of the show. Even though I was born in the early 90's I have my own memories of Soul Train.

The show would later have spin-offs such as The Soul Train Awards, Lady of Soul Train Awards, and Soul Train Star Fest. Re-runs of the show can be seen on BET Centric.

As a nod to Soul Train's longevity, the show's opening sequence (during later seasons) contained a claim that it was the "longest-running, first-run, nationally syndicated program in television history," with over 1,100 episodes produced from the show's debut through the 2005-06 season.

Don Cornelius made his last appearance as the host in 1993 and the show ended in 2006. We love you and miss you.  I am sad to hear that Don committed suicide. His last public appearance was in 2009 at the annual BET Awards as he presented The O'Jays with the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Rest in Peace, My Brother
September 27, 1936-February 1, 2012

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