Shoe Personality of the Week: 2/6/2012 Don Cornelius Edition
My story is in no way unique. I, like every other Black child I knew, got up on Saturday mornings to repeat the same routine Saturday in & Saturday out. I watched cartoons, had breakfast, did my chores & sat close to the TV for Soul Train. I had seen American Bandstand & didn't relate at all to the majority of the featured musical guests. I certainly NEVER identified with Dick Clark. Soul Train</b> started before I arrived on the planet but I always recognized that it had been started specifically for ME.
I started watching it with my parents, seeing "live" the artists that they held near & dear. I grew up with Don Cornelius as he aged; gracefully. I watched his fro get low, get low get low. I saw his threads change from that bananas Jackson 5 business I just couldn't relate to, to an elder statesman of Black music. That's just the Don of it all. I also got to see the Big Kids do their thing on the dance floor & see how dancers got to dress different from the rest of the population. I pretended I was in the Soul Train line as it was happening, standing up & clapping along with those who waited their turn. My shutterbug memory was recording the latest boots & mini skirts on the women. It was on Soul Train that I learned to both love & despise the jumpsuit, promising to one day own 1 that made sense. That was before it was signed & sealed that I would be shorty with all kindsa hips & arse to make it more than a notion.
My 1st crushes, outside of my father's friends, were from Soul Train. I picked out which male dancers were my boyfriends & fought with my little sister over the light skinned dude who was all Shabadoo-ish (a la the Breakin' series). I fell in love weekend after weekend with the Jacksons, New Edition, Ready For the World, Al B. Sure, and The Force M.D.'s, to mention a few. As Black music evolved, hip hop made it's way to the stage & helped keep me up on the latest from Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh & Heavy D; again, to name a few. I stayed up late to catch Soul Train reruns & relive the fever I had earlier in the day. Soul Train was where my fantasies were born.
As I sit here reminiscing, I think without Soul Train, America wouldn't have recognized the need to provide programming for its minority citizens. There would have been no YO! MTV RAPS, my addition to the Saturday morning staples in the 90's. I recall watching MTV when we 1st got cable & wondering why there was NO BLACK MUSIC being played. Before Michael Jackson's video coup, I had all but committed to not bothering with MTV. Cuz...for what?!? Pioneer is a word that has always been thrown around with Don Cornelius's name. I almost hate to type it, but it's the truth. He did pioneer Black Music Television.
I'm saddened to hear it alleged that Mr. Cornelius took his own Life. As the debates over the mental health issues of the elderly are tossed around, mental health issues of African Americans & the lack of open dialogue about it continues, I must admit that this too hits home. I don't know how many examples it takes of people feeling boxed in by their realities for us to admit that it's time to do something different. I hope this sad tale is told no more.
My Rest In Love gets tossed into the pot now, another flower on the casket when it gets lowered. Today's Shoe Personality is all about that retro love. & of course, it wouldn't be right unless I shared a video of 1 of my favorite performances.
Watch me move in Love, Peace, & Soul.