Don Cornelius: ‘Love, Peace… and SOUL!’ (1936-2012)

On Friday, family paid their respects to Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius, who was cremated at a private service held at the same cemetery where King of Pop Michael Jackson is buried.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who led the prayer gathering, was among those that attended. He is set to do the eulogy for a larger private memorial service Cornelius’ family is planning for next week.

Dubbed as “a black American Bandstand“, Soul Train debuted as a local Chicago dance show in 1970, and was an instant hit. A year later, the show then moved to Los Angeles, where it will become the longest-running, first-run, syndicated series in television history over the next 35 years. Last fall, Cornelius was named after the same Chicago street where the pilot was first taped to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary.

Hailed as “the hippest trip in America“, Soul Train brought R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop and Rap to national television — launching the careers of several actors and artists such as Fred “Rerun” Berry, Jody Watley, Rosie Perez, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Alicia Keys.

Cornelius stepped down as host of Soul Train in 1993, but the Train kept going for 13 more years with Mystro Clark, Shemar Moore, and Dorian Gregory.

Though there were no more episodes after 2006, the show continued in syndication over the next two years as The Best of Soul Train, and currently on cable channel Centric with reruns of classic performances from the 1970s and the 1980s.

Cornelius, who was 75, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on February 1, less than two weeks before the surprising death of Pop and R&B queen Whitney Houston, who died on the eve of the 54th annual Grammy Awards Saturday afternoon at the age of 48.

Garrett Godwin is an entertainment journalist, who writes for NewsBlaze about television and people in the entertainment industry, from his home state of Michigan. Contact Garrett by writing to NewsBlaze.