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Tavis Smiley

Cornelius SAVED Black Culture

2/1/2012 4:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

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Talk show host Tavis Smiley believes "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius was responsible for saving black culture in the 70s and 80s -- telling TMZ, the late producer was "our cultural ambassador" in that era.

Tavis tells us, "Don Cornelius was our cultural ambassador when black music, when black dance, when black fashion were under-appreciated in this country."

Tavis adds, "I think that Don Cornelius' real contributions were never really appreciated ... Sometimes, it takes something tragic like this to really appreciate the contributions one has made ... I hate to see it happen like this ... He will be missed."

If you don't recognize the other guy in the clip -- shame on you -- it's famed activist and philosopher Dr. Cornel West ... who adds, "I just pray for his family. I love Brother Don Cornelius."

94 COMMENTS

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46.

DaTroof    

... second word = please.

909 days ago
47.

Josh    

under-appreciated music
under-appreciated dance
under-appreciated fashion
blah,blah,blah
All you had to say was he was "black" and we could have filled in the "I'm a victim" blanks.

909 days ago
48.

God-Of-Lyf    

Sooooo jerking around like an idiot belongs to the black culture? I thought so. Just Saying... He will NOT be missed by everyone that's for sure. That show was a JOKE!!!

909 days ago
49.

lizouttavegas    

I am shocked and saddened by this passing...as well as he'd done in life, you'd think someone would've been there to turn it around before he picked up the gun! maybe they were.All I know is I loved loved loved Soul Train, and Don C. and everytime the news runs his clip of "peace,love and soul"...a chill goes up my spine and I feel tears of sadness for this soulful man...RIP sir.

909 days ago
50.

Larry    

I am a whiteboy who was in high school during the early 70's. I watched Soul Train on Saturday mornings. Cornelius was WAY before his time. Anyone but a fool could see this guy was something special.

909 days ago
51.

3Storms    

He didn't save it. He segregated it separately away from everyone else and convinced blacks it was good for them to be cultural isolationists who spit in the face of diversity because racism only applies to whites wanting white-only TV shows and the same standard does not apply to blacks so it's ok

909 days ago
52.

O_o    

yes, soul train ranks right up there w the march on washington.

909 days ago
53.

Diane    

RIP to a great man. The one per cent sounding off, you don't speak for me.

909 days ago
54.

Who Knew    

How can a man who married a white women have saved black culture? How do black women feel about that?

909 days ago
55.

fstblk    

Tavis and West are not all that great.These 2 are phonies,especially Tavis.

909 days ago
56.

Raejean    

I wouldn't put it quite the way Tavis did, but Soul Train presented black music, fashion and culture in a manner that made it incredibly attractive and cool to a white audience. More important to me all these years of social decay later, he KEPT IT CLASSY!

909 days ago
57.

HMichaelH    

I agree with Tavis Smiley when he says "Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius was responsible for saving black culture. And that, of course, is the problem. Black culture isn't worth saving. It appeals to the lowest common denominator, and undermines the quality of life most seek in the West. Just look at the noise they call music today, their attitude toward law and order, the destruction of our educational system, their lack of respect and interest in the classics, their low respect for human life, and any other number of measure of what an advanced culture is.

What Don Cornelius did was initiate the downfall of American civilization, which has resulted in the administration we now have in the White House, and the severe and growing problems among the races!

909 days ago
58.

Robert Kelly    

" saving black culture " ..Give me a break! Lets not exaggerate what he did! He was a host on a TV show....thats it. It didnt empower the race, it didnt provide jobs, and it sure didnt SAVE the Culture! Tavis YOU are ignorant.

909 days ago
59.

whocares    

why do black people always have to tell us what color skin they have

909 days ago
60.

Patrick    

Under-appreciated!! Do you remember the fashions of the day? The brothers be wearing clown suits! Ask anyone of an age if they would go back to that three ring circus and they'll hang their heads in embarrassment...cept smiley! Oh if today's behavior and style is an indication of the culture being rescued, it was rescued by the zombies in Michael Jackson's Thriller. You people dress funny!

908 days ago
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