Overheard on CNN.com: 'Soul Train' founder brought peace, love, soul to many
"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius, shown here on the set of the show in the '70s, died from a gunshot wound on Wednesday.
February 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'Soul Train' founder brought peace, love, soul to many

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"It's better to celebrate the life of someone rather than mourn their loss in death. Therefore, I say thank you, Don Cornelius. You were a credit to the human race. You helped facilitate the spread of Soul as the conductor of the train, giving artists an outlet beyond the confines of the industry machine so we all could be inspired. Let the Soul Train Scramble Board read: 'Rest in Power Don Cornelius.' "
–Manny UNO Cortez

Our readers are remembering "Soul Train" founder Don Cornelius today after he was found dead of a gunshot wound. He was 75. Authorities are investigating the incident. We're seeing lots of tributes from our readers who said Cornelius inspired them in so many ways.

Authorities: 'Soul Train' founder dead of gunshot wound

This comment echoed the thoughts of many who said Cornelius' appeal transcended race and culture:

cherriterri: "I grew up in inner-city Chicago and didn't know there were any other radio stations other than WVON. I loved the Ohio Players and once called to request a song when Don was still doing his show on air. LOL. I asked him if it were okay if I were white. He chuckled and said if it was what I wanted to hear, then it was okay. (I think I was about 11 at the time.) He said it didn't matter what color I was (in that awesome deep voice of his) and that music had the power to make everyone the same color. In that short conversation, he confirmed what I believed even then, color just didn't matter. 🙂 I watch 'Soul Train' religiously every Saturday. The man was pure class. He inspired me. Rest in Peace, Don."

The most-liked comment came from a reader who also said they watched "Soul Train" regularly.

rda118: "I am a white male who grew up in Detroit. I listen to all kinds of music. I watched Soul Train every Saturday morning. It was great to hear all the wonderful sounds and watch all the cool dancing. I was shocked to hear the passing of Don, a true pioneer. He not only brought soul to the TV, but became an icon in American culture. My condolences and prayers to his family and friends."

A few readers admitted getting some of their dance moves from Cornelius.

tompst: "Very sad, and the circumstances makes it even more tragic for a man who influenced so many people and gave young artists a chance to be seen on TV. I am a 60-year-old white man, but watched that show for years as a young guy and picked up all the latest dance moves to take to the weekly dances back then ... some of which I still use at the infrequent opportunities to dance these days. Christmas parties ... weddings. RIP, and thanks Don."

Omekongo Dibinga of Washington submitted a video tribute to CNN iReport in which he called Cornelius a "class act with a lot of soul." Overall, people heaped on the praise.

W8a2nd: "For boomers and x-gens, whether you know it or not, your love of music was greatly influenced by this man. He brought the 'Greats' into your living room and into the "American" culture. RIP Mr Cornelius. And thank you for your contributions toward breaking the generational chain of racism throughout these United States."

DLT: "And as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul, Don Cornelius. You made my life infinitely better and played the music I loved. The dance moves and confidence I learned from Soul Train has sustained me since I started watching at 10. Your mantra was not only cooler than cool, it offers peace and calm. It was a stone gas, man. Thank you so much. The world was a better place because you were here."

SCY385: "I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching Mr Cornelius and many talented people on Soul Train. A performer was not legit until they appeared on that show. He was a very cool host. My heart goes out to his family."

One reader related a story of meeting the man.

markmmmmmmmm: "About 15 years ago I was lucky enough to meet him during a trip to LA, he was such a nice man and very approachable. I told him that I was just a white boy from the sticks of Ohio and he was the man that turned me on to the great inner city voices of my generation. Its sad to know that he is gone now, he did so much for what we see and hear in music. Before MTV, there was Don Cornelius."

Did you ever meet Cornelius? Let us know below.

Rule3: "So sad. I would drive by his house often and wave to him. He seemed like a nice man. May he rest he rest in peace or 'Peace, love and Soul.'

Sweet 'n' Tender: "I know. I met him in the late '80s, very down to earth."

A lot of people were talking about the Rev. Al Sharpton's remarks as well.

secretagent: " 'Had it not been for Don Cornelius we would not have ever transcended from the chitlin circuit to become mainstream cultural trendsetters.' Now it's that sort of comment, made by the infamous Rev. Al Sharpton, that instills and maintains racism in people. Sharpton has always been an enabler and regardless of the circumstances, he will steer the course into a racist arena every time. I grew up in the same era as Sharpton and Jackson and I for one, will be glad when they go as well. I happen to be African-American and the tactics of these two gentlemen only served to make our journey up the hill a whole lot steeper. They're passionate, but they never understood what people like brother Cornelius were trying to achieve. It had nothing to do with any comparisons or making it from one place to another. It was merely the expose of what we have had all along and simply wanted to share it. It wasn't a struggle to escape the pains of slavery, nor was it ever in need of an emotionally-charged sermon by Sharpton or Jackson. It was about a man, Don Cornelius, who created a source to highlight and celebrate the Motown era among African Americans and anyone else who enjoyed this genre of music. The good Rev. Sharpton still considers himself a black man in the throws of a racial battle, while African-Americans continue to move forward and transcend to places where brother Martin Luther King had always envisioned, leaving the past behind us. Rest in Peace, Mr. Cornelius."

BlackBeautyO:"Racism is maintain by racist people, Al Sharpton just pointed it out. The tea party said recently that schools should not talk about slavery, it is because of that type of thinking that Al is needed. I know people like you don't want to hear about it, but we don't care."

But mostly, readers said they learned so much from Cornelius.

AlFranken: "As a white boy in the sixties and seventies growing up in the suburbs of L.A., (Thousand Oaks) it was my only connection to the culture. ... He has brought so much to me as music is food for the soul and soul he gave me. ... God bless Don Cornelius."

What do you think? How did Cornelius impact you? We want to hear from you. Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Celebrity • Music • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz • TV
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. RAGE Against the Machine

    River Tam: "Bullet to the Brain Pan, SQUISH!"

    February 2, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • MEGAN

      to sad he would not wate for god

      February 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robin

    It always saddens me that the topic of God/no God can release such hatred. As a believer (my own choice, not someone's threatening me with anything), I am reminded of Matthew 7:1: "Judge not that you be not judged." Many so-called, self-appointed judges just cannot understand that. Jesus also spent his entire ministry caring for the social and religious outcasts (such as the poor, the women, those labeled "sinners" by the religious hiearchy) and condemning those who considered themselves as specially "favored" by God; calling them vipers and white-washed sepulchres with no life inside them. Those are strong words against those who thought themselves so much better than others. My point is this: Whether we are in the "atheist" camp or the "believer" camp, and yet have to insult, ridicule, and spew poisonous hatred all over the other, neither of us are smarter than the other. It is a "tie" of hatred. And there are no winners in hate. YOU are fully and irrevocably free to choose–but so are OTHERS. As human beings, our concern should be how we can help others who need help. I still can wish you peace, even if you do not believe as I do. I would hope you could do the same for me.

    February 2, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Bennett

    It's sad how time distorts, changes and often eliminates memory. Don is being portrayed as bringing "races" together, yet how many years did it take for him to allow white male dancers on his show? I believe in the 80's. I recall that issue being a heated topic during the 70's...

    February 2, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jeffrey

    Growing up gay in a small midwestern town in Ohio was not easy for me. Going to school just to be spat upon, my books throw down the hall and called names wsas never easy. But i got through it all with the help oh my family, self stength and turning to the great music on Soul Train is what got me through it all. I loved to watch the dancers in the Soul Trian line and would try to duplcate their moves as best as I could. And I must say I didn't do to badly either. To this day my favorite music is R&B. It has such a soulful sound that is imposible to not at the least tape your foot to the beat and for me get up and dance. Even today I watch and listen to reruns of Soul Train while I am cleaning the house. It was and always will be a part of my life and who I have become. Thank you Don Cornelius for taking us on this most incredible jouney. We are all the better for it.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MAB1955

    Love, Peace & Soul!!!!!!!!!!!!RIP. Your contributions to America, The World CAN and WILL never be forgotten. My family grew up in the country and when the TV worked, we only had access to one channel. Saturday nights was the time we all gathered to watch Soul Train. At the time,being children, we did not understand the full, nor immediate impact, we do know now that the impact is absolutely immeasurable! Your Work & Passion Will Live On Through The Open Door! On behalf of many generations, and small town America, regardless or race, creed or color, THANK YOU! Blessing to those who most keenly have to process directly the impact of Your loss. God Bless!

    February 2, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. savethechildren

    Shot to death? Its the natural way. What is the likelihood he was shot by a WHITE man? Not high. And why is that?

    Could there be.....god forgive me for saying this......racial differences? If said it, now you can call me a racist and burn me at the stake.

    I believe it is a god given right for a man of his own race to kill him. Let every race have the right to kill others of the same race. just don't do it in my country. Do it in your own country.

    There is presently a genocide of white people going on in all white countries. Massive immigration being part of that program.

    Genocide involves the attempt to achieve the disappearance of a group by whatever means. It does not have to be violent, it could be a combination of policies that would lead to a certain group dying out.
    ~ Prime Minister of Australia 1975-1983 – Malcolm Fraser. “One Nation, One Notion”, The Age, 8 July 1997, p. A13.
    “Assimilation is genocide.” ~ Aboriginal leader Mick Dodson.
    “Genocide is genocide, whether accomplished by bullets, mustard gas, or mass immigration and social engineering.”

    February 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrew

    Keep al sharpton off the air... out of respect to Whitney .... He is totally self serving!!!

    February 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
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