Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– America is mourning a music pioneer. The creator of “Soul Train” dies suddenly and his influence is felt from Hollywood to Baltimore.
Kai Jackson has more on the legacy left behind by TV host Don Cornelius.
He was the charismatic and bespeckled host of “Soul Train” with a trademark baritone voice.
“When we started to believe that we had something is like the day Aretha Franklin walked in the door,” Cornelius said of Soul Train.
Yet fans and entertainers were stunned to learn Soul Train founder Don Cornelius died Wednesday inside his Sherman Oaks, Calif. home, apparently the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Music producer and friend Quincy Jones says Cornelius was a pioneer, a visionary and a giant.
“He gave them something that put a positive image on young black people,” Hall of Fame singer Smokey Robinson said.
Sky Eye Chopper 13 was in Woodlawn after radio stations asked fans to stop by to pay tribute to Cornelius.
At the Radio One stations in Woodlawn in Baltimore County, DJs reflected on Cornelius’ impact on the music industry. They say finding people with the same passion and vision that he had will be difficult.
“He’s gonna be missed, but you can’t describe him because everything he did was groundbreaking,” Konan, 92Q Radio DJ, said.
The TV show started in 1971 and spanned four decades of American music, bringing now legendary African-American acts to living room TVs with an iconic dance line featuring groundbreaking moves.
“Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Al Green– all of them. I was right there in front of the television as a little girl,” Dina Oliver from Catonsville said.
“Soul Train brought black music to everywhere and everyone,” E. Kane, a 92Q DJ, explained. “And not just inner cities. It reached the outskirts and middle America.”
Soul Train was one of the longest running shows in television history.