The sound of A Taste of Honey’s “Boogie Oogie Oogie” roared through the speakers as students entered the Zoom gallery on Monday night to get ready to ride aboard the Soul Train.
The Zeta Phi chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho held a celebration of “Soul Train.” According to the event, “Soul Train” was one of the most powerful and popular shows of its time. At the time of it going off the air in 2006, it was the longest running syndication in the history of television, starting in 1971.
According to Jacelyn Jackson, president of Bradley’s Zeta Phi chapter, the Soul Train Remix has been hosted as an annual event because Soul Train’s music is a staple in the expression of Black artists in the United States.
The night began with introductions from members of Sigma Gamma Rho, who then shared their screen to unveil a documentary from VH1 that detailed the history of “Soul Train,” from its humble beginnings in a small WCIU studio in Chicago to the cultural powerhouse of fashion, dance and soul that made the program so popular.
“Music inspires poets, painters, dancers, and other such crafts that tell the story of our culture,” Jackson, a senior nursing major, said in an email interview. “This past year has included some adjustments on our part for how we implement this event; for instance, last year we held the event as a trivia game in the Student Center with the slogan, ‘How Hip Are You?’ as we were focusing on the development and influence of hip hop and rap on the samplings and lyrical references in music from the last three decades.”
“I was excited and interested about this event because it’s Black History Month, and it’s good information for those who aren’t aware of the history of ‘Soul Train,’” Calcote, a senior journalism major, said.
However, Calcote wished that something else was included.
“I was pleased with how informative the event was; however, I was disappointed that there weren’t any performances as promised on the flyer,” Calcote said. “I do understand that there was a lack of participation from students who were supposed to submit videos for this event; however, I was looking forward to that the most.”
Although Jackson’s original plans to virtually promote students’ talents had to be altered, she still felt that the presentation was a success. But most of all, Jackson hoped that participants took away the perseverance and intellect that was within the original host and executive producer, Don Cornelius.
“It takes extraordinary people to convince America to take notice of something outside of their normalcy, and Cornelius made Black entertainers a weekly spectacle for Americans of many racial backgrounds,” Jackson said. “The key point behind ‘Soul Train’ and our annual reminiscence to its legacy, in the words of the Reverend Jesse Jackson during his interview with Don Cornelius, is ‘… the 3 E’s: [to be] ethnic, ethical, and excellent.’”