STORY BY DESHAWN CHINN, FNN REPORTER, ANACOSTIA BUREAU
FNN CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY: FEB. 20, 2014. Don Cornelius is the creator the best dance show called “Soul Train”. I picked this person because I love dancing and his show. I also picked Cornelius because I like how he influenced our black people to make us feel that we are beautiful. He really did a lot to help our people build confidence back then.
One of the ways he contributed to black history was by giving us confidence about our skin. The theme of “Soul Train” was “Blackness”. Cornelius always stressed that black was beautiful. The show allowed colored people to be themselves—cool, intelligent and wild while showing their skills. Don used his opportunity as a host to tell the world that we can do and be what we want to be. That’s why I will respect him.
Another way he contributed is by showing the true power of Ujamaa. Ujamaa is the concept of unity, working together, and supporting one another, especially in the area of economics. He helped upcoming talented artists like Michael Jason, Marvin Gaye and more. He showed us that instead of going against each other, we need to work together and help each other be successful. Don Cornelius stated that, “There’s no limit to what we can do when we work together.”
His show was very successful. His show took off via sponsorship from the Johnson Products Company, which was a Black-owned enterprise. By conjoining Black consumers with Black businesses and Black entertainment, Cornelius was able to create one of the greatest economic and entertainment empires in Black American history. This is what he meant by working together and helping each other be successful.
Don Cornelius passed away on Feb 1, 2012. He affected my outlook on our black community because it makes me want to go out and help the younger generation. I can do that by helping out in youth centers and talking to them—basically teaching them what he wanted our black people to know. And they can hopefully spread it down to their kids and so on. I hope you learned something and will carry on his legacy to teach our younger people what he wanted us to know. As my man, Don, would say, “PEACE, LOVE, AND SOULLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!”
DeShawn Chinn is a student at Anacostia High School.