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Friday, September 10, 2010
Jody Watley Celebrates Soul Train 40th Anniversary at Grammy Musuem With Don Cornelius and Smokey Robinson
Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of Soul Train was truly a night to remember at The Grammy Museum September 8. To help celebrate the release of the DVD collection the centerpiece of the proceedings included a panel with the visionary Don Cornelius, host and creator of Soul Train along with music legend Smokey Robinson and myself.
The evening was moderated by Scott Goldman who asked Don, Smokey and I questions about our experiences and thoughts about the legacy and influence of Soul Train. One could sit and listen to anecdotal music stories from those two men for hours with Don's surprising and dry sense of humor and Smokey Robinson's sharp wit. There were many lighthearted moments during the presentation. Following his questions, Scott opened it up to the audience primarily consisting of a diverse assemblage of media, a sprinkling of former dancers and other attendees for a spirited Q & A.
Notably special for me was seeing original Soul Train dancer, choreographer and actress Damita Jo Freeman.
The show remains the longest running syndicated program in the history of television and was once the only outlet for TV exposure for many R&B/Soul artists later developing into an internationally influential and beloved program. The 'Soul Train Line' is recognized and enjoyed around the world at countless wedding receptions, family reunions and bar mitzvahs. Saturday mornings watching the show was a part of the routine for many children, teens and families especially during the shows prime in the 70's, my friends and I lived for those mornings. As I said during the evening, we looked up to the dancers on the show like Pat Davis, Tyrone Procter, Sharon Hill, Damita and Lil' Joe Chisholm who were like stars to us. Needless to say, Soul Train will always be pivotal in my journey.
The Soul Train "The Hippest Trip In America" DVD Collection is a must have not only those who lived the era but as a priceless catalog of a moment in time for any generation appreciative of good music, dancing and fashion.
Pictured With Jody Watley and Damita Jo Freeman, Former Soul Train Dancer Thelma Davis