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Soul Train: The Hippest Trip

Monday, February 06, 2012

Don Cornelius, the creator of 'Soul Train' Don Cornelius, the creator of 'Soul Train' (juggernautco/flickr)

In the wake of founder Don Cornelius’ death last week, we look back at the importance of “Soul Train” in television history and American race relations. Joining us is Eric Deggans, TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times.


Eric Deggans

Comments [11]

barny drood

"the truth" is full of it............

Feb. 06 2012 02:48 PM

@ The Truth From Becky: Remember, the music industry was segregated like many institutions during most of the last century. We were marketed to in black and white. Soul Train turned a lot of what was conventional (and sometimes racist) notions on their ear. I never considered the cross cultural reach of Soul Train until a few years back when a white colleague told me when it aired on Sat. afternoons his family's living room became "the dance floor" for he and his siblings in the same manner it was in my house when I was a kid.


Feb. 06 2012 02:44 PM
Cate T from Harlem

In the 1970s, in particular, Soul Train brought authentic Black music and culture into our homes. It extended the legacy of the "Chitlin' Circuit" and places like the Apollo Theater where Black people could see Black artists, dance and fashion closer to what many of us were experiencing in our communities-- and it was live

Feb. 06 2012 02:35 PM
Ron Mwangaguhunga from Williamsberg

I remember that there would be these battles (1980s) between the kids in m y neighborhood as to what was cooler -- Soul Train or American Bandstand. I think we all know now for all intents and purposes who is the decided victor in that Saturday Morning music match up

Feb. 06 2012 02:32 PM

Soul Train was how several of my friends and I learned that Tina Marie was White. From her soulful voice we just assumed she was a black woman.


Feb. 06 2012 02:31 PM
rose from brooklyn, of course.

Elton, Bowie, whatever. It was about what black and puerto Rican kids of the U.S. were digging. Don heeded the call. Even though Don Cornelius had great disdain for hip-hop, which he honestly expressed on Soul Train, he still listened to what was happening in the under belly of America and put hip-hop artist on main-stream television repeating his initially instinct of bringing the truth that brought the show so much success.

Feb. 06 2012 02:31 PM
The Truth from Becky

Why can't we ever enjoy a conversation without the Black/White element? - Soul Train is/was enjoyed by ALL races...we seriously have a race problem in this country, a shame.

Feb. 06 2012 02:30 PM
rose from brooklyn, of course!

Motown appeased to america, intentionally crossing over. Soul Train didn't water down anything! He (Don Cornelius) brought our "house parties" and what was happening in the "clubs" to television and made America do the cross-over.

Feb. 06 2012 02:26 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Even though Don had a seething contempt for rap & disco music, he ushered in an era of African-Americans, for the first time, having some control of how their music was portrayed national television. More profoundly, Soul Train changed the way Blacks were marketed to on TV.

Feb. 06 2012 02:25 PM
Siouxie from Bronx

As a white chick from the Bronx, I watched Soul Train for the dance moves. My favorite part was the Spotlight Dance which showed some seriously eccentric moves. Remember waking up hung over Saturday morning to catch David Bowie. Bowie was pretty messed on the white up which became evident during the question and answer session w/ the dancers.

" . . . because it's all gonna be a soul gas honey." Indeed, it was!

Feb. 06 2012 02:15 PM
The Truth from Becky

A crying shame to attach that ending to such an iconic legacy...but on the other hand what a great personal pain a person has to be experiencing to outwardly show it with the ultimate and final expression of physical pain. Was there no one that could help? A shame, a crying shame..RIP Mr. Cornelius.

Feb. 06 2012 01:41 PM

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