Don Cornelius (1936-2012)

Soul Train creator and host, Don Cornelius, has apparently taken his own life. A champion for soul music in the 70s, Cornelius gave a televised platform for many black musicians when none had previously existed, exposing performers like Curtis Mayfield, James Brown and The Jackson 5 to an expanded audience. For its time, Soul Train’s existence as a syndicated program was remarkable, Cornelius having recognized the value of the music and the potential it had to breach and possibly bridge gaps between social and racial classes. Even MTV, which arrived a little more than 10 years later, didn’t have the balls to expose black artists in its infancy despite the network’s pioneering of a music-industry innovation.


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