I along with many fans was very saddened to hear of the loss of television pioneer Don Cornelius this past week. Of course he was best known as the creator and host of the long running syndicated hit series, Soul Train.
I didn’t have cable for most of my childhood years, so while networks like MTV were in their prime and some people relied more on sources like those, Soul Train was still a pretty good and official source for myself and my family growing up; finding out some of the latest music, fashion, and trends as they progressed in our society. Soul Train was not just a look into the cultural word for people of color like myself, but for everyone.
Also I must say, I’ve really been enjoying the classic episodes of the show as they’ve been rerun on stations like WGN a few years ago and Bounce TV today. Spike Lee’s description of the show as an “urban music time capsule” to me is spot on. Not only have I enjoyed seeing how various eras of fashion, music, and dance have been represented, but I’ve also discovered several favorite new (well, more like new-old) artists and songs that I probably never would have really thought of thanks to the exposure. Artists like Patti Austin, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., Atlantic Starr, and Yarbrough & Peoples just to name a few. We also of course can’t forget the exposure given originally to then groundbreaking artists like The Jacksons, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Wonder.
I have a lot of great hope that we can continue to remember his legacy for many years to come with the way networks like Centric and Bounce TV have been broadcasting his signature creation. No other music show can top the brilliance and uniqueness of this one.