The creator and longest running host of the seminal Soul Train dance music TV show will receive yet another posthumous honor.
Don Cornelius, who passed away in 2012, is one of the broadcasters selected for induction in the “Silver Circle” of the Chicago/Midwest branch of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the industry body which presents the Emmy Awards, according to Chicago media reporter Robert Feder.
The Chicago-born Cornelius founded Soul Train in 1970 as a local show that was filmed in the Chicago Board of Trade building and was aired daily. Cornelius had previously been an insurance agent and a cop. Cornelius famously got into broadcasting after he pulled over WVON news director Roy Wood (father of comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood, Jr.) for a traffic violation, and the latter observed Cornelius had a great voice for radio.
Cornelius remained stubbornly independent even as the Black artists his show championed broke through to mainstream audiences – in some ways a victim of his own success. “He’s a Chicago boy,” Nelson George — critic, filmmaker and author of The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style — told NPR. “Chicago is one of those cities that always had a strong sense of self.”
George called “Soul Train” “a real glue. One of the many things about ‘Soul Train’ is that it solidified national black culture. When I say that, I mean to say there had never been a regular scheduled vehicle ever for black music, black style, black entertainment in TV.”
The induction ceremony will be on May 13 of 2022, Feder reports.