The host and executive producer of Soul Train has died. The Los Angeles police department is reporting that Don Cornelius was found dead at his home in Los Angeles this morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"The hippest trip in America," as Cornelius called it, aired every Saturday morning. Soul Train brought a weekly update of music, style and dance moves from some of the top black artists of the 1970s and '80s. The show, which invited R&B and soul musicians, like Al Green, Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Aretha Franklin, to perform their hits in front of a live — dancing — audience, began as local program in Chicago in 1970. By the end of its second season, it was picked up across the country.
Cornelius owned Soul Train, making him the first black owner of a nationally syndicated TV show. Though its audience was primarily African-American, the show had a tremendous cross cultural impact. Cornelius relinquished hosting duties in 1993 and Soul Train went off the air in 2006.