Don Cornelius brought Soul to Many

A part of soul music has died.

Only a few weeks have passed since we lost soul icon Etta James, who took with her a musical treasure that we will never get back. Now, we have been faced with the loss of yet another music legend, Mr. Don Cornelius.

Mr. Cornelius was not just a show host who kept us dancing in front of our television screens to the latest music, he was a part of the foundation that helped to make Black music and culture the international powerhouse that it is right now.

His show Soul Train gave black music a voice when authoritative structures such as racism prevented African Americans from being seen or heard on national media outlets.

Cornelius’ deep, raspy, voice may not have been heard on records and he may not have had screaming fans, but he represented the best of what music had to offer.

This Chi-town native rose from the same south-side streets as Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, and The Staple Singers, so you know that soul music was in his blood.

Many black and white artists rose to prominence as a result of appearing on Soul Train.

I was lucky enough to grow up during the time when Soul Train was still popular, and can remember learning more about music through watching various R&B, hip-hop, and neo-soul artists perform on the show.

For many, Soul Train was a place where one learned how to dance, sing, and feel like the music that they loved mattered.

Yes, its a sad time for those who loved and idolized Cornelius, but it is also a sorrowful time for the state of Black music in general.

We will never get another Etta James or Don Cornelius. They along with many other music icons who passed on have each taken pieces of the music that has become a staple of American culture.

But,we were blessed to even have them in our presence.

Rest in Peace Donald Cortez Cornelius. You will be missed.


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