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BHM Fashion Tribute: Don Cornelius

Submitted by on February 19, 2010 – 12:10 pm3 Comments

Don Cornelius is known for bringing soul to televisions nationwide in the 1970s.

Fed up with seeing African-Americans portrayed in a usually negative light on TV, Don found a way to flip this notion – he created the longest lasting syndicated show ever, highlighting their unique fashions, music, dance skills and more.

“Every facet of Soul Train proclaimed ‘black is beautiful,’ a source of tremendous pride in a community struggling for its civil rights.” – Chicago Tribune

The deep-voiced Don was one of the first African-American men in broadcasting to have his own show.  Celebrity guests included Curtis Mayfield, Jackson 5, James Brown, Public Enemy and many more R&B, funk and hip-hop acts. Michael Jackson even learned his “moonwalk” from one of the show’s dancers – Jeffrey Daniel.

Jackson 5 on Soul Train

Don’s style was the epitome of the 70s – afro, bell bottoms, polyester suits and platform shoes.

Although his look isn’t quite as flashy as it was in his heyday, the 73 year-old still sprinkles funk on his ensembles, from leather pants to his signature short fat ties.

Just two weeks ago, VH1 aired a special to commemorate the show’s 40th anniversary: Soul Train: The Hippest Trip In America.

The 90-minute documentary celebrates the show’s impact on pop culture, music, dance and fashion, and features a rare interview with Don Cornelius.

Check out some vintage footage from Soul Train, where Don himself does a little dance, as well as a clip from the VH1 documentary:

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