Smiley & West remember Soul Train host Don Cornelius, who committed suicide this week at age 75.

Smiley: His true contributions were never really appreciated.

West: The fact that he would end his own life says something about the real plight of genuine soul music and soulful people.


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If cause of death was truly suicide and as violent as a gunshot to the head, all who considered themselves true friends of soulful Don Cornelius could use a lot of soul-searching on what it was they understood as true friendship. To have built up to this tragic crescendo, the travails of a troubled Cornelius, whether they were health-related, financial or psychological could not have been lost on his friends (and relations). If they were, then they raised a whole new question of what we humans (or whatever else we called ourselves) understood as friendship obligations. 

I have watched birds and ants; they seem to care for their own better than some of us do for ours. No wonder some sages admonish us to "go to the ant, thou sluggard, learn its ways and be wise." I call on self-professed friends of Cornelius, please go to the ant, today.

Personally, I am revving up the attention I pay to my small circle of friends going forward. Thank you, Cornelius, for once again sacrificing to wake us up from our reverie; I wished the style of your final exit were as cool as what we knew of you as the 'Ultimate Mr. Kool.' Good night, Don Cornelius. Sleep well, one soulful star that would dim no more.    

Closing Reflective Thoughts: …

It saddens my heart deeply, to know that, what ever, what was “troubling” him; he felt he had (no one to talk too), that would truly understand and bring him comfort, as to what he was facing before his death … And he felt so “trapped” and his only way of “escape” from this: “unknown and painful misery”, was to commit suicide! …

Ps: “If only there was (someone - with a real: “genuine listening ear”), who could have been there by his side, to be able to listen to “his heart cry of need”, this would not have happened!!! ….“SELAH” …

Again, this is such a “great lost” and “Soulful and painful Tragedy” indeed! … His (earthy presence), will be “truly missed”, and the collective: (Soul Train Memories), of his “living contributions”, towards this (remarkable and memorable) television program, will never be forgotten, and my heart prayers and genuine condolences, truly goes out to his dear family members and closes friends as well!” ... Blessings Always, Ms. Deborah J. Steele - 2/04/12

rip don


karma is real...

Back in the day, Soul Train was one of the most reverberant Black brands in American culture and was a metaphor for the freedoms and possibilities in the early years following the Civil Rights era.  Not only did Soul Train influence so much of Black urban style and culture, but from a business perspective, it also played a critical role in bringing Black consumers to mainstream advertisers (for you old schoolers remember when predominantly ALL commercials were focused on white consumers and used very few, if any, Black actors to illustrate the marketability of their products/services in commercials?).  Then came Don Cornelius’ Soul Train where a lot of us first began seeing people that looked like us advertise products like Afro-Sheen, Coca Cola, etc.  So from an entrepreneur standpoint, I think Don Cornelius was not only a true legendary door-opener for so many artists whom never would have otherwise had a platform to showcase their talent, BUT even more important, he was the one who introduced so many American corporations and their products to the Black consumer.  Yeah I know that sounds crazy....’like did they NOT already know that we too were their customers?’  Well maybe so but they certainly didn’t think us worthy enough to focus and target advertising campaigns on.  Just think it was probably those far and few first Black-targeted commercials using Black actors shown during Black TV programs like Soul Train that eventually lead to our first Black journalists and first Black news casters too being tried out by major television networks, etc...

I agree with TheNewBlackMan who recently stated, “Don Cornelius may have never donned the uniforms of Black radicals, but he brought Black Power to mainstream America, with the recognition that there is no Black Power without independent Black Media.”

Although none of us can ever really know the motivations of someone who chooses suicide, I do  concur with what has already been alluded to that many who choose such a dark ending are often desperately seeking to merely be heard and how sad it is that we  often never really hear them until its too late.  MLK said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”  It also sort of ticked me off tonight that the Grammy’s only barely remembered to mention him (his name nor picture wasn’t even included in the formal Remembrances but LL Cool J, the program’s commentator, did manage to mention his passing & musical contribution on the cuff  which I guess I should be grateful for.  So I end with, 'Thank you and R.I.P. Don Cornelius.'

I love soul train and am so grateful that Bounce TV is showing it. The big question now is...who will produce the new age Soul Train! It would be a success today.

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