You’ve got to be shitting me, Don Cornelius is dead? The legendary writer, producer and host of Soul Train has been found dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound? Well fuck me! Hmm…
Well I suppose this is where I should speak about all the good things that he brought to American television, black entertainment and world music. This is the part where I droop my shoulders and lift my head to the sky and relive and feel the warmth of childhood memories. I think of the joy of watching his show every Saturday morning, listening to the many artists who would perform. From black to white, from young to not that old, from R&B to pop, you were never disappointed by who was there. They gave their all as they lip-synched to their own hits wearing clothes so tight that sometimes you could tell the religion of the men and which of the women had had boob jobs or were in need of one. I remember watching week after week and finally recognizing many of the individual dancers who would be there and grading each one of women on how they danced or the men on how questionable their masculinity was. I remember being thrilled waiting and watching for the Soul Train Line where the dancers in pairs would wait to perform their 5 to 10 second bit and I would dream about what I would do if I was there. That’s what I should talk about, but I won’t because remember him as being a miserable cunt.
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, I just don’t remember when, but I remember seeing Don Cornelius at the MGM Hotel in Vegas at the Tyson Bruno fight. I was there with a bunch of community kids and a few adults as guests of the boxing promoter Don King. The boys were there happy to see people, celebrities that they had only seen on TV and were collecting autographs and snapping pictures of everyone. I saw a couple of the boys who were about 9 or 12, recognize Cornelius who was sitting down on one of those ottoman things the hotel had looking up sad and old speaking to someone. They ran over to him and excitedly asked to take a picture of him. He looked at them, brushed them aside like yesterday's lint and waved them off.
Evelyn, one of the adults in charge, walked over to them and apologized to the man and took the boys away with her. He didn’t even flinch and my disgust for him grew instantly. I walked away.
Well this hasn't actually been a tribute and someday I’ll have to see someone about those traits in me that make me have these visceral feelings, but until then all I have to say is, and I really do mean it, “…as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!” RIP Don Cornelius.