For many of us, going down the world-famous Soul Train Line was a dream; we spent Saturday mornings (and the rest of the week) perfecting dance steps in hopes of one day coming true. Don’t act like I’m the only one! But for a select few, walking across the stage to receive a Soul Train Award or performing at the Soul Train Awards was an even bigger dream, a dream some are still having as they launch careers. I recently reached out to a group of up-and-coming and established artists to learn of their favorite Soul Train Award memories and moments that have lasted alongside their dreams of going down the Soul Train Line.
Latest Project: Feels So Good (Available Now)
“My memory and experience with the Soul Train Awards was back in 2003. I was a member of the group Impromp2 and presented the Best Female Artist award to Heather Headley. The experience of meeting her and following her career, watching her perform on Broadway made her one of the women who inspired me to write my new song ‘Beautiful Queen’.”
“The tribute to Anita Baker struck me at last year’s awards. I love her! Seeing an independent artist like Goapele was really inspiring. And my parents owned all of Anita’s music and played it all the time when I was growing up, not to mention that some of my fans tell me I sound like her. Also, I remember when I was a teenager, Michael Jackson performed ‘Remember the Time’ sitting down! It turned out he was injured and that was crazy to see him perform without dancing simultaneously.”
Current Project: TBA (2012)
“The Soul Train Awards Show 2010… Of course the R-Kelly opening was the ish–he started out with ‘Your Body’s Calling’, then ‘When a Woman’s Fed Up’…that is my anthem! Then he went into his new single, ‘When a Woman Loves’. He absolutely rocked it!!! Robert Kelly can really, really sang!”
Current Project: Lifeology 101 (Available Now)
“Last year’s show was hot! The R. Kelly opener was dope and the tributes to Anita Baker and Ronald Isley were sick! When El Debarge, James Ingram, Al B. Sure, and Barry White performed ‘Secret Garden’ , it was unbelievable!”
Current Project: Light Up the Darkness (Available Now)
“Many moments-but I adored the Kem and Rachelle Farrell performance in the tribute to Anita Baker. I love both of these artists and they covered it their way. I love to see artists be creative and not copy others. They took Anita’s song and did it up, which I believe was a great tribute!!!”
Current Project: My Beautiful Ugly (Available Now)
“One moment that stands out about the Soul Train Music Awards for me would have to be the undercurrent, the underlying spirit of community and support that can still be felt and heard even if sometimes it only sounds like a whisper of times gone by. It’s a time when we come together to honor, uplift, support, unite, and celebrate one another and our achievements regardless of our status or differences. If one looks deeply enough past the shiny surfaces, you see the beauty, strength, pride, creativity, perseverance, courage and the spirit of our community“.
Current Project: Summer EP (Available Now)
“I was honored to have had the opportunity to be part of an awards ceremony of a show that contributed to my musical formation. I’m not alone when I say this: I grew up on SOUL TRAIN! I remember on Saturday mornings, smelling coffee brewing and hearing ‘Sooooooooul Traaaaaain!’ I also remember wanting to wear those shiny pants with leg warmers and wanting to dance on that stage! “
Current Project: Never Be the Same EP (Available October 2011)
“In 1993 I was only six, but I remember vividly watching Eddie Murphy give Michael Jackson the Humanitarian Award. It left such an impression on me that he was so devoted to giving to his charities and helping those in need. I saw him first as a performer but he then seemed to be even more special to me because he really showed how he cared about other people. The second memory of the Soul Train Awards that stands out to me was when Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston sang ‘Something In Common’ together in 1994. I was always mesmerized by Whitney Houston as a performer but, with Bobby with her it made it a performance that was unforgettable.
I have always thought that Toni Braxton was as talented as she was beautiful and I was jealous like every other man when Trey Songz got to kiss her on stage. I think every guy watching wished they could have been him in that moment in 2009. I loved the tribute to Anita Baker in 2010, but the one that stood out the most was Tamia. You could tell that she really touched Anita and made her cry. There was definitely a connection that they made together and Tamia did a fantastic job singing ‘Giving You the Best that I Got’. She is one memorable woman and it was the one performance I always think about in association with the Soul Train Awards. “
The memories are endless; CeCe Penniston and Mary J. Blige performing back to back in ’93; Bobby Brown when he was the undisputed king of R&B in 1989; En Vogue’s medley during a tribute; Soul II Soul’s performance in 1990–the same year we were introduced to Tevin Campbell; Ashford & Simpson singing “I’ll Be There for Ya”; Boyz II Men and Jodeci back in ’92; and finally, Teddy Pendergrass’ triumphant performance in 1991…timeless moments etched in the fabric of our culture, of our soul. I can’t wait for this year’s show!
Between rhetoric and reality is where you’ll find The World According to Teef. Plainfield, NJ native Al-Lateef Farmer is a self-styled social documentarian that tackles everything from politics to pop culture, Reality TV to relationships with a brand of social commentary rooted in independent thought that is unfiltered, uncensored, unforgiving, but never unreal! Follow him on Twitter (@wrldacrdng2Teef) or take a trip to his world at worldaccording2teef.com