Soul Train

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  • TV-14
  • 1996
  • 8.1  (644)

Soul Train was a groundbreaking television show that aired from 1971 to 2006, showcasing African American music, dance, and style. Created and hosted by Don Cornelius, the show featured the latest R&B, soul, and funk hits, as well as performances by legendary musical acts and up-and-coming artists. The show began airing on local television stations in Chicago before being picked up by national syndication in 1971, staying on the air for an impressive 35-year run.

Throughout its run, Soul Train maintained a reputation as a platform for emerging talents, showcasing a range of musical styles and performers. From early appearances by legends like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder to more contemporary artists like Aaliyah, TLC, and Usher, Soul Train kept its finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest in R&B and soul music.

In addition to musical performances, Soul Train was also known for its iconic dancers, who would showcase the latest dance styles during the show's signature "Soul Train Line." Dancers like Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel, and Shabba-Doo became household names thanks to their appearances on the show, which helped popularize some of the era's most enduring dance moves.

While music and dance were the hallmarks of Soul Train, the show also did much to promote African American culture and style. From fashion tips and makeup tutorials to segments showcasing Black entrepreneurs and cultural icons, Soul Train was a means for the African American community to celebrate and showcase its unique style and sensibilities.

Of course, no discussion of Soul Train would be complete without mentioning its distinctive aesthetic. From Don Cornelius's suave suits and deep baritone to the show's iconic neon logo and colorful 70s decor, Soul Train was a feast for the senses. The show's set featured a rotating disco ball, a dance floor flanked by rows of tiered seating, and a house band that played all the latest hits. And thanks to its use of multiple cameras and frequent closeups, viewers felt as though they were right in the middle of the action.

Over the years, Soul Train went through a number of changes, reflecting shifts in popular music and cultural trends. But whether showcasing disco, hip hop, or new jack swing, the show remained an important part of the cultural landscape. In the wake of Don Cornelius's death in 2012, tributes poured in from fans and artists alike, attesting to the indelible impact he had on music, television, and African American culture as a whole.

In conclusion, Soul Train was a pioneering television show that broke down barriers and helped to elevate African American music, dance, and style. Through its unwavering commitment to showcasing emerging musical talent and promoting Black culture, the show left an enduring mark on the entertainment industry and the wider cultural landscape.

Soul Train
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  • Premiere Date
    September 9, 1996
  • IMDB Rating
    8.1  (644)