Wednesday, February 1, 2012

RIP Don Cornelius...

Donald Cortez "Don" Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012) was an American television show host and producer who is best known as the creator of the nationally syndicated dance/music franchise Soul Train which he hosted from 1971 to 1993. He passed away earlier today from a self inflicted gunshot wound. 

Originally a journalist inspired by the civil rights movement, Cornelius recognized that in the late 1960s there was no television venue in the United States for soul music, and introduced many African-American musicians to a larger audience as a result of their appearances on Soul Train, a program that was both influential among African-Americans and popular with a wider audience. As writer, producer, and host of Soul Train, Cornelius was instrumental in offering wider exposure to black musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson, as well as creating opportunities for talented dancers that would presage subsequent television dance programs. Cornelius said "We had a show that kids gravitated to," and Spike Lee described the program as an "urban music time capsule."

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