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Much excitement along with plenty of love, peace and soul was displayed Friday, November 8 at the 2013 Soul Train Awards red carpet.
Celebrities were fashionably and stylishly decked out in their best attire at the annual awards show, launched by Soul Train creator and host Don Cornelius in 1987.
Jazz singer Bobby Caldwell, who scored a major R&B and pop hit in 1979 with “What You Won’t Do For Love,” advised people who wanted to get into the entertainment industry to “be true to your art.” He later performed in a tribute to blue-eyed soul.
The stars shared fond memories of Soul Train and Don Cornelius.
“Soul Train changed television,” said Eddie Levert of the O’Jays. “He brought soul music to a much wider audience through his show.”
Soul Train Awards nominee Lyfe Jennings said, “I want to thank Don Cornelius for giving me and the other artists a p0edestal to be able to do what we love doing.”
Jon B, who performed as part of a tribute to blue-eyed soul, stated, “Soul Train is such a part of my life and I performed on the show several times.” He also added that this was his first time ever performing on an awards show and called Don Cornelius a “gladiator for soul music.”
Big Daddy Kane, who performed in a tribute to 90s hip-hop music, said, “Hip-hop is very lucrative now.” He also echoed the sentiment of many regarding Don Cornelius. “We love him and miss him.”
Cheryl Song, a legendary Soul Train dancer from 1976 to 1990, was excited to be attending the prestigious event. She said her favorite Soul Train memory was when she met Michael Jackson. “Don Cornelius was an innovator [who] was ahead of his time.”
Derek Fleming, another legendary Soul Train dancer from 1980 to 1993, stated that among his favorite memories on the show was letting a little kid come down the Soul Train line with him.
Both Song and Fleming are a part of the annual Soul Train Cruise. They both said being a part of the cruise is an “awesome experience.”
Evelyn “Champagne” King, who has been in the recording business for 36 years, said that this was the first time performing at the Soul Train Awards and she was excited to be there. “Don Cornelius is very much missed,” she stated.
Recent American Idol winner Candace Glover, who performed in a tribute to Dionne Warwick, stated she was extremely excited to win the competition. “Don Cornelius is an absolute legend and I am honored to be here,” she said.
Honoree Dionne Warwick shared, “I miss Don Cornelius.” She said her favorite Soul Train memory was helping Cornelius put together the first annual Soul Train Awards.
Other performers to be appearing at the ceremony are Chaka Khan, Ruben Studdard, Gladys Knight, Boris Kodjoe and Tamar Braxton. The 2013 Soul Train Awards will be hosted by actor and comedian Anthony Anderson, and will air Sunday, December 1 on Centric and BET Networks.
Stephen McMillian is a journalist, writer, actor, filmmaker, dancer/performer, Soul Train historian and soul music and movie historian. He is also a former Soul Train dancer. He is featured in the new Soul Train documentary Show Me Your Soul and is also featured in the new book Love, Peace & Soul by Ericka Blount Danois, which is available at bookstores and on Amazon.