(AllHipHop News) The late Don Cornelius was remembered in grand fashion on Saturday (February 4) with one of the staples of his iconic dance show, “Soul Train”.
About 100 dancers invaded New York’s Times Square in a “flash mob” organized through the Internet, the Associated Press reported. The group united to recreate one of the weekly show’s “Soul Train lines.” The segment, which became a popular fixture on “Soul Train”, featured people taking turns as they danced toward a TV camera while showing off their most outrageous moves. The gathering went down Broadway for about 45 minutes until police arrived to tell the crowd to disperse.
In addition to the outdoor tribute, Cornelius was remembered during the weekly community meeting at the National Action Network headquarters in the borough of Harlem. The Rev. Al Sharpton led the tribute, which was attended by singer Roberta Flack.
The vocalist praised Cornelius for inspiring other Black performers and entrepreneurs, saying, “He didn’t have a great big light telling him, `Go over here, don’t go over there, watch where you step, there’s a hole right there.’ He stepped.”
Cornelius died on February 1 of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. In the years prior to his death, the 75-year-old TV personality was plagued with health problems, as well as a difficult divorce and legal problems that included pleading no contest to a misdemeanor spousal battery charge in 2009.
Despite his personal trials and tribulations, Cornelius was viewed as a trailblazer for creating, hosting, and selling “Soul Train” to television stations that were initially doubtful about programming targeting Black viewers. Cornelius hosted the show – the longest, continuously running first-run syndicated program in television history – from 1971 to 1993. Comedian Mystro Clark and actors Shemar Moore and Dorian Gregory served as hosts during the “Soul Train’s” final years from 1993 until 2006.
News of Cornelius’ death sent shockwaves with entertainers and fans voicing their shock and sadness via Facebook and Twitter.
As he spoke to those attending the tribute, Sharpton noted Cornelius’ death as a reminder for people to look at themselves to avoid Cornelius’ tragic fate. The activist’s connection to Soul Train dates back to 1974 when he appeared on the show to present an award to soul music legend James Brown.
“One of the things that Don’s death brought us to is that we’ve got to look in the mirror before we end up in this kind of situation,” Sharpton said.