I don’t even have to complete that phrase for the millions of people who grew up watching Soul Train. Yesterday, Donald Cortez Cornelius, the creator and executive producer of one of the longest running syndicated programs in history (35 seasons) died at the age of 75.
Don Cornelius created one of the first broadcast programs on television that acknowledged African Americans as a unique, viable audience. The show portrayed young blacks as beautiful, hip, vibrant and sophisticated. It also ushered in the beginning of television advertising featuring special products and commercials for a minority market. He expanded the Soul Train brand to include the Soul Train Music Awards and he operated SoLar (Sound of Los Angeles Records). His show created opportunities for countless broadcasters, camera operators, dancers, musicians, singers, and actors of color – and not.